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Top Stories
MMF to outline expansion and revamp plans tonight
Jacko claims he only wanted to do ten O2 shows
TPB trial mentioned hip hop group release album by BitTorrent
Wolf raises 100k in funding through Bandstocks
In The Pop Courts
EMI may go legal over Stone contract
Brandy settles one of her car crash lawsuits
Fiddy in court over property valuation dispute
Pop Politics
Dandy Warhols to play at Playboy mansion
Producer Jonny Dollar dies
Reunions & Splits
Atomic Kitten reunion tour rumoured
Bring Me The Horizon line up chat
Aleks leaves Campesinos
Release News
Polydor to release Soulja Boy mini-album
Magnolia Electric Co new album, free MP3
Gigs N Tours News
Blur hold ticket raffle
Editors to preview new album
Muse announce tour dates
Tinchy Stryder announces UK tour
Phuturesonic single launch tonight
Festival News
Festival line up update
Album review: Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us (Memphis Industries)
The Music Business
Bronfman's coming to London, leading to yet more EMI Warner chatter
BMG sign up Irish indie
Bell leaves outside
The Digital Business
eMusic chief defends Sony deal and new prices
The Media Business
BBC Big Weekend goes international and interactive
Burnham says TV firms owe talent show contests a duty of care
Chart Of The Day
MTV2/MySpace chart
And finally...
Some jolly Dolly Saturday bitching
Eminem not Bruno's first choice for ass crash
Former Oasis guitarist says group should have disbanded
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts


Sing It Loud are a pop-punk band who wear the pop side of that tag with a pride that caused controversy in some sections of the punk community when they signed to seminal punk rock indie label Epitaph Records. But their detractors are largely drowned out by the band's growing legion of fans and their own claims that they don't care what people think. Their debut album, 'Come Around', produced by Motion City Soundtrack guitarist Josh Cain, is out this week and they will be spending the summer on the Vans Warped Tour playing more gigs than is strictly healthy. Ahead of all that, we spoke to frontman Pat Brown to ask our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started out playing music when I was three years old. My mom is a piano teacher so she has been pounding music into my brain pretty much since I was born. When I was in fifth grade I went to Bible camp and saw all the counsellors playing acoustic guitars and singing and I thought it was so awesome, so I asked my parents if they would buy me a guitar and let me take lessons. Once I picked up guitar I started jamming with my friends playing Blink 182 and New Found Glory covers and eventually got into bands that would tour on weekends in high school.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Kieren and I write our lyrics/songs from personal experience. I know that sounds very clichéd, but at the time we were both going through relationships with girls that totally sucked so we wrote all the songs about them. Haha.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Kieren and I will come up with an initial idea like a chorus, or a verse, or a pre-chorus. We bring the idea to each other and start filling out the rest of the song. Once we have a good base for the song, we bring it to the rest of the guys and they put in their two cents worth and we go from there. We really build our songs from the ground up and make sure everyone is involved.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
As a band we are collectively influenced by All American Rejects, The Starting Line, Taking Back Sunday and Def Leppard.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would tell them that it's a party so they better bring a cake and some party hats. Our music is very happy and upbeat, as is our live show. I think people come out to our shows and have a really fun time and we make sure that everyone that leaves goes out with a big smile on their face.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single/album, and for the future?
Our latest single is called 'Come Around'. It's the title track and we are about to release a music video for it. I know that all of us are really hoping to get the music video on MTV. We've had music videos on [US college-based channel] MTVU and had our music on shows on MTV, but we all really want our full video on there - that would be so rad! As far as the future goes, we want to be a band that can tour and keep working for more than two years. Lots of bands only stick around for two or three albums these days, but we want to be around for years and years. I don't want to ever go back to school or work a day job ever again.


Bike For Three!, aka Canadian rapper Buck 65 and Belgian electronicist Greetings From Tuskan, have never met in person, but they aren't letting a little thing like that get in the way of creating one of this year's most intriguing albums so far, 'More Heart Than Brains'. Having carved out a niche for himself by crossing country music with hip hop, this is Buck's first album to feature all electronic production, but he takes to it like a duck to water, as Greetings From Tuskan absorbs his voice into her cool, trippy soundscapes, which have tones of Boom Bip and Modeselektor running through them. The lone track up on their MySpace page, 'All There Is To Say About Love', is a perfect example of this, but the track that really blew our socks off is the album's title track, which you can download for free by clicking on the second link provided below.
free MP3 link




The Music Managers Forum will hold a briefing session for journalists later today to reveal the trade body's plans to relaunch itself as a bigger, better, leaner, greener and, erm, meaner (?) trade body. Well, something like that.

Moves have been afoot in the artist management community for a while now to reinvent the MMF, which many managers see as being outdated given the certainly changing and arguably more powerful role artist managers now play in the wider music business. The MMF had traditionally been primarily a networking organisation for artist managers, with a training division tacked on. But the organisation has been evolving in recent years, not least through the appointment of Jon Webster as a full time CEO in 2007, and it's known that recently elected MMF chair Brian Message of Courtyard Management and ATC Music is keen to see the Forum relaunch as a fully fledged trade body more along the lines of those that represent the record label sector, BPI and AIM.

Artist managers met in London yesterday to discuss what a revamped MMF could and should do in terms of representing the management community to the rest of the music business, to government, and to the world at large. It's thought the new look body, which may well take a new name, would play a more proactive role in lobbying government, would aim to be a first port of call for other businesses looking to work directly with artists, and would expand the current training operation into a wider education and mentoring programme, especially for new managers.

More specifics, presumably, will be forthcoming at tonight's briefing, on which we will report tomorrow. It will be interested to see how the all new MMF plans to complement UK Music, Feargal Sharkey's music business wide trade body, to which the Forum is affiliated, and how it plans to interrelate with the Featured Artists Coalition, the newish artists organisation initiated by the MMF last year, but set to operate independently from the management body very much run by its artist members.

A bigger better MMF is also an interesting development for the main record company trade body BPI, once the primary music industry trade organisation, but which has recently found itself increasingly competing with newer bodies, like the Association Of Independent Music, Sharkey's aforementioned UK Music and the FAC, for the wider world's attention. The increasing importance and profile of UK Music and, now, the new look MMF, is, of course, illustrative of the fact that the record companies the BPI represents, and especially the major record companies that distinguish BPI from AIM, have a less dominant position in the wider industry as record sales continue to decline.

Nevertheless, the record companies still inject the most cash into new talent, and the BPI remains the best resourced trade body. While some of the biggest issues in the industry - the sound recording copyright extension and harsher methods to combat illegal file sharing - have some consensus across the business (though, arguably, not completely from the FAC), it makes sense for the various sub-sector trade bodies to collaborate (and BPI is, of course, also affiliated to UK Music). But with several trade bodies now being increasingly proactive and vocal, it will be interesting to see what happens if and when the big issue in music results in conflict between different parts of the industry.

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Michael Jackson has reportedly claimed he only agreed to do ten shows at The O2 in London, and that the additional forty shows were added to his residency without his permission.

The Sun reports that Jacko made the claim when talking to fans outside the rehearsals for his big O2 comeback show, which are taking place in Burbank, California. He reportedly said "I don't know how I'm going to do 50 shows, I'm not a big eater, I need to put some weight on", before alleging: "I only wanted to do 10, and then take the tour around the world to other cities. I went to bed knowing I sold 10 dates, and woke up to the news I was booked to do 50".

Whether or not this is a sign that relations between the singer and promoters AEG are cooling isn't yet clear; the latter haven't responded to the Sun report. Previously the promoters have staunchly defended Jacko, especially when the decision to push back the launch of the residency was announced last month.

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Swedish hip hop group Advance Patrol, one of the acts whose copyrights were listed as having been infringed in the recent trial of the Pirate Bay Four, have hit out at being named in the court case, and have responded by making their new album available via a BitTorrent stream listed by the notorious torrent tracker.

As previously reported, the three founders and principle financial backer of The Pirate Bay were ordered to serve a year in jail and pay huge damages to the record companies after being found guilty of enabling mass copyright infringement at a high profile trial in Sweden, though they are yet to do any jail time or hand over any cash as they appeal the ruling against them, and also push for a mis-trial because of the allegations the judge in the case was biased towards the content owners.

Anyway, after seeing themselves listed as affected artists in the International Federation of The Phonographic Industry's submission to the Pirate Bay trial, Advance Patrol's Gonza told fans: "We never asked to be plaintiffs in this case, they used us as a weapon in a fight in which we don't wish to participate. We refuse to be used in a war against our fans! You cannot legislate away file sharing. Those who share our music are also those who appreciate it the most. They are my friends, and friendship is something to be valued highly. That's why we're giving away [new album] 'El Futuro' to the internet, to our friends".

Advance Patrol are the second artist namechecked by the prosecution in The Pirate Bay case to distance themselves from the music industry's legal action. Swedish rapper Max Peezay previously asked to removed from the IFPI's list, and also subsequently released an album via a BitTorrent stream.

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You see, raising investment for your new album through the internet can work. The Bandstocks account for Patrick Wolf's new self-released album 'The Bachelor' closed earlier this week having raised a neat £100,000 from fans and private investors. A further twenty grand has been raised through pre-sales of Mr Wolf's new album 'The Bachelor', which was released on Monday.

Wolf is one of the most established artists to date to utilise a website like Bandstocks to encourage fans to invest in his music. Fans, or other speculators, could invest as little as £10 in Wolf's self-released album, which will now get a global release, distributed in Europe by ADA, in Japan by Hostess, in Australia by Speak And Spell, and in the US via Nylon Records and Red Distribution.

30% of the profits from the album will be redistributed to those who invested in it, plus investors get a credit on the first run of the album and on the album's website, as well as a free digital version of the long player and access to other Wolf-related exclusives. Wolf, of course, gets the freedom of working with very silent investors, allowing him complete artistic freedom on the album.

There are a number of websites offering a Bandstock style service where artists can raise funds from fans to enable them to produce and release records. Arguably such services work best for established niche artists who already enjoy a dedicated fan base who will [a] invest themselves and [b] provide the guaranteed customer base that might encourage online speculators to also put in some cash.

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There are reports that EMI are set to sue Joss Stone in a dispute over her record contract and next album 'Colour Me Free', which was originally pencilled in for an April release.

Rumour has it Stone is trying to buy herself our of her current four album recording contract with the London-based major, arguing that none of the people she signed up to work with are at the music firm any more, following EMI's much previously reported executive cull following its acquisition by equity group Terra Firma.

Some say Stone has offered up to £2 million to be freed from her commitments to the major, so she can take the master tapes for the aforementioned new album to another record company, or possibly release it herself. But the record company, no doubt aware that Stone is still one of their more bankable stars, is apparently not keen to let her go. That, rumour has it, has led to the singer refusing to hand over the master tapes for 'Colour Me Free', hence EMI's plans to go legal.

All that said, when speaking to the Daily Mail, Stone seemed to imply the delays on the release of her new album were not a result of her refusing to hand over the masters, but because of delays at the record company. The Mail quote her thus: "[EMI] were supposed to be launching the album in April but now they've postponed it until July. They really need to pull their finger out. I've worked very hard on this record and I don't know what the plans are until EMI confirm a release date".

Either way, it doesn't sound like Stone is much of a fan of her label just now.

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US pop chick Brandy Norwood has settled a wrongful death lawsuit issued against her by the family of a woman who died in car accident involving the singer back in 2006. As previously reported, Norwood was accused of causing an accident on the LA freeway in December that year by failing to slow down when the cars in front of her did. She shunted into one of those cars, causing various vehicles in front of her to be shunted into the car ahead. Awatef Aboudihaj was killed in the accident.

Although no criminal charges were ever pursued against Norwood, mainly due to lack of evidence, a number of civil lawsuits stemmed from the case. It's the litigation launched by Aboudihaj's children that has been settled, with TMZ reporting that the R&B star will pay out $300,000 as part of an out of court settlement. Other lawsuits relating to the crash, including one from Aboudihaj's husband, are seemingly ongoing.

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One from the hip hop property woes file now, and 50 cent was in court yesterday to testify in his legal action against a Connecticut engineering company called BVH Integrated Services.

He claims the firm was negligent when it investigated on his behalf a property he subsequently bought. He hired BVH to assess what kind of repairs and renovations would be required on a Connecticut mansion, the former home of Mike Tyson, which Fiddy bought off the boxer's ex-wife. He says BVH estimated $500,000 of repairs were required but, he alleges, he has spent $6 million renovating the property since moving in, half of that on basic repairs that, he argues, BVH's assessment should have identified. The rapper is suing to reclaim some of the extra costs he incurred in relation to the property, arguing he would never had bought it in the first place had BVH's report more accurately predicted the further investments that would be required.

Speaking in court, Fiddy said this week: "I thought [BVH's assessment] was necessary because I didn't know what it would take to keep the house uptight and up to speed. I would have never bought [the property] had I realised it would require millions in repairs and renovations".

Defending BVH, the engineering firm's lawyer Michael Byrne argued the big discrepancy between his client's estimate and the real costs of renovating the property were because the hip hopper had chosen "extravagant and costly upgrades", implying that had Fiddy been more budget conscious when renovating the mansion he could have done all the required work more in line with BVH's proposed budget.

But a contractor hired by BVH to do part of its assessment admitted his investigation wasn't in depth, adding that he wasn't asked to conduct a thorough review of the property, and there wasn't enough time to do so anyway. John Wilcox told the court: "It was not intended to be an inaccurate estimate, [but] it was intended to be a loose order-of-magnitude estimate. This house was not a high-quality, mansion-quality house. It was not built that way. It was relatively inexpensive construction. There was no way to do a comprehensive review in the time we had".

The mansion featured on the MTV 'Cribs' show in 2007, around about the time Fiddy was trying to offload the property. Apparently it has 19 bedrooms, 37 bathrooms (for some inexplicable reason), a recording studio, helicopter pad, pool and spa with grotto, a cinema, and nightclub complete with a swing dangling from the ceiling. Just the bare essentials then.

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The Dandy Warhols are to appear at the Playboy Mansion to perform a benefit gig in support of reforming US laws on marijuana. The event, which will take place in LA on Thursday, is to be hosted by actress Fairuza Balk, and will also feature fire dancing, a magic show, and an auction in aid of MPP - the Marijuana Policy Project - which aims to reform the status of the drug, and make it available for legal use by people who are seriously ill. Former Bauhaus-er David J will be providing a DJ set.

Asked why the group decided to take part, frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor told NME.COM: "We have a lot of stoners in our band so to have marijuana still be illegal is ridiculous. As a recreational chemical it's a lot less dangerous than alcohol. There are a lot of countries where it's perfectly legal and they get along better than America. Plus it may be our only chance to go to the Playboy Mansion and hang out".

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Producer Jonny Dollar, aka Jonathan Sharp, has died at the age of 45 after suffering from cancer. He is credited with being integral to the development of the so-called 'Bristol sound' of the nineties, having worked on Massive Attack's seminal 'Blue Lines' album, but he also worked with Neneh Cherry, and on Gabrielle's triple platinum album 'Rise'.

Polydor president Ferdy Unger-Hamilton has called Dollar an unsung hero, and says of him: "I knew Jonny from his work with Neneh Cherry, he co-produced a lot of her work with Cameron McVey and Massive Attack. He also produced 'Blue Lines'. These records had a profound effect on me, 'Buffalo Stance' and 'Manchild' when I was about 14, and when I first heard 'Unfinished Sympathy' like everybody else who heard it, I don't think I could really believe what I was hearing. As a man of these records it was a natural thing for me to call him up when we were looking for a producer for Gabrielle's third album 'Rise'. As committed and driven a producer as I've ever met, I literally had to take the tracks by force back off him, he was so determined to make them perfect. The result was a number one single and album 'Rise'. He was as tough artistically as he was gentle a person".

Dollar is survived by his wife and four children.

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The latest band rumoured to be reforming for a tour are Atomic Kitten, who have actually done a reunion gig of late, if my memory serves me correctly, but without Kerry Katona. She's integral to the plot of recent reports on the issue, however, as it's claimed she's been offered a six figure sum to take part in a tour with former bandmates Liz McLarnon, Natasha Hamilton and Jenny Frost. That line-up would constitute more than just a reunion, of course; Katona left the band in 2001 and was replaced by Frost, so all four members appearing together would be a first, I suspect. Given that the other three have continued to spurn Katona, one can only imagine that sparks could fly. A source is quoted as saying: "The girls know the only way they'll drum up any hype and support is by working with Kerry. Kerry wanted to focus on her acting, but the megabucks offer to reunite with her old band was too good an opportunity to turn down".

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Matt Nicholls, drummer for Bring Me The Horizon, has said that guitarist Jona Weinhofen (formerly of Bleeding Through and I Killed The Prom Queen), who has replaced his former bandmate Curtis Ward, is not actually the band's proper new guitarist but a temp. Nicholls told Rock Sound: ''We needed someone to fill in and Jonah popped up in conversation, we knew he would be good so we asked him. He was up for it and we are all excited to have him out for some shows but he is not the new guitarist for Bring Me The Horizon.".

Nicholls adds that the band are working on finding a full time replacement, however: ''We are just getting friends to help us out at the minute but we have got people in mind for the job full time. The people we are thinking about know who they are, but we are just going to have to wait and see what happens".

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Los Campesinos! have announced that Aleks Campesinos! is leaving the band in order to go back to full time study, and they sound quite sad about it. In a statement, the band explained: "In many ways, it would be great if there had been some falling out in the band and that Aleks couldn't bear to tour with us any more, but that couldn't be further from the truth. We're all better, closer friends now than we've ever been".

Aleks' work will still appear on the band's next album, currently being recorded in the US, and she will not leave the group until after the completion of a US tour this summer.

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Polydor will release a six track 'mini-album' from Soulja Boy, another attempt to appeal to younger pop consumers by offering a cheaper alternative to a full album; the UK Universal division released a Pussycat Dolls 'mini collection' back in April. The six tracker will feature five new tracks from the Boy, plus his 2007 hit 'Crank That'. It will be available for £4.99 on download, and £5.99 in the physical format. Demonstrating the youthful target audience for the 'iSouljaBoyTellem' release, much of the marketing will focus on social networks like Bebo, Facebook and Twitter.

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Country types Magnolia Electric Co will release their new album, 'Josephine', their first since 2006, via Secretly Canadian on 20 Jul. Recorded with legendary engineer Steve Albini, the album pays tribute to the band's bassist Evan Farrell who died in December 2007, albeit presented through the story of the loss of someone called Josephine.

Download the album's title track here

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Blur are holding a raffle to give fans the chance to win tickets to their intimate June reunion gigs. The dates, to be held at the Colchester East Anglian Railway Museum and London Goldsmith's College this month, sold out ages ago, but now 46 pairs have been made available, and fans can pay a fiver for the chance to get their hands on them. Proceeds are to go to charity. More info from

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Editors have said that they will preview tracks from their new album at a gig in their hometown of Birmingham on 10 Sep. The show will take place at the all new Birmingham Academy which, as previously reported, opens that month. Tickets for the event will go on sale this Friday at 9am.

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Muse have announced a series of arena dates for later this year, dates as follows:

4 Nov: Sheffield Arena
5 Nov: Liverpool Echo Arena
6 Nov: Dublin O2 Depot
9 Nov: Glasgow SECC
10 Nov: Birmingham NIA
12 and 13: London 02 Arena

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As we all know, Tinchy Stryder's recent single, 'Number 1', being knocked off the top of the UK singles charts started a chain of events that will ultimately culminate in the end of the world. Which means that it's highly likely none of us will be here in September and October. Still, Tinchy Stryder, who should know this fact better than any of us, has announced UK tour dates for those months. Maybe buying tickets for his shows will reverse the curse set by the drop in sales of his single. If it does, it's one hell of a marketing plan.

Tour Dates:

17 Sep: Norwich, Waterfront
18 Sep: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
19 Sep: Liverpool, O2 Academy
20 Sep: Newcastle, O2 Academy
23 Sep: Birmingham, O2 Academy
24 Sep: Oxford, O2 Academy
25 Sep: London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
27 Sep: Cambridge, The Junction
28 Sep: Southampton University
29 Sep: Manchester, Academy 2
1 Oct: Cardiff University, Solus
2 Oct: Brighton, Concorde 2
5 Oct: Bristol, O2 Academy
8 Oct: Sheffield, O2 Academy

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London-based 'funk-hop' collective Phuturesonic, headed up by producer Henry G (possibly best known for his remix of Jeremy Sylvester's 'Bodypoppin'), launch their debut single, 'World Adrift', tonight at Favela Chic on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch. The band will be performing live and will be followed by DJ sets from Jon Kennedy and Jeremy Sylvester (both of whom have remixed 'World's Adrift'). More info from or Jo at Phuture Trax.

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GLASTONBURY, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, 24-28 Jun: White Lies, Tony Christie and Ebony Bones are among the many artists confirmed for the Guardian Lounge at this year's Glasto, along with Little Boots, The Maccabees and Bombay Bicycle Club.

LOOP FESTIVAL, various venues, Brighton, 11-12 Jul: Man Like Me, Thomas Traux, Mirrors, Elizabeth, John The Savage and Win Prizes have all been confirmed to play Brighton's Loop festival, joining the likes of Squarepusher, The Field and Datarock.

UNDERAGE FESTIVAL, Victoria Park, London, 2 Aug: Blood Red Shoes and My Passion have been announced to play the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage at this summer's Underage, along with Saving Aimee, Don Broco and Dan Scotty.

GREEN MAN FESTIVAL, Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons, 21-23 Aug: Camera Obscura and Amorphous Androgynous have been confirmed to play this year's Green Man fest. Hawkwind, Alisha Sufit, The Yellow Moon Band and Nick Nicely will also be performing.

READING & LEEDS FESTIVALS, Little Johns Farm, Reading and Branham Park, Leeds, 28-30 Aug: Frank Turner and Lethal Bizzle are the latest to be confirmed for Reading and Leeds this summer, joining headliners Kings Of Leon, Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys.,

JERSEY LIVE, Royal Jersey Showground, Jersey, 5-6 Sep: Dizzee Rascal and Jamie T are set to play the Channel Island festival this year. Chew Lips, Kap Bambino and Curry And Coco are also set to play.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us (Memphis Industries)
Black Moth Super Rainbow are yet another band to return to the scene after a year's hiatus, with a record eager to please the ears of the wider audiences they just weren't able to reach and please with their last three releases. 'Eating Us' is a bit like Air's '10,000Hz Legend' - trippy, yet with a solid, heavy undertone that stops the record from floating off into outer space on the back of a yellow submarine. Opening with the organ-fuelled and string-filled 'Born On A Day The Sun Didn't Rise', one would think that 'Eating Us' is rather a dark affair; on the contrary. It's actually quite perfect for the summer, with its Flaming Lips-esque sunshine-infused computerised melodies and sweeping orchestral scenery. 'Gold Splatter' sounds like it's been taken right out of 'The Virgin Suicides' soundtrack - warm and mournful, with wonderfully accurate drops of retro psychedelia spaced in between. Equally, 'Iron Lemonade' and 'Smile The Day After Today' are curious and colourfully experimental additions to the album's kaleidoscopic landscape. Produced by the man who catapulted MGMT into superstardom, 'Eating Us' is a polished and solid record, and surprisingly magnificent. TW
Release Date: 8 Jun
Press Contact: Create Spark [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Warner Music chiefs in the UK might have to get used to their top boss dropping in unannounced. Word has it the Bronfman family, so Warner CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr and his wife and kids, are set to move to London and set up home in Kensington, near the major's UK HQs. Although seemingly a decision made for personal reasons - word has it Mrs Bronfman wants her four children to experience living in a country outside the US - some wonder whether it will mean Edgar will become more involved in his company's UK affairs, even informally.

Those who are now speculating that Bronfman has his eyes set on an EMI acquisition again are also noting the Warner chief's new primary residence will be just round the corner from the global headquarters of the UK-based major. As previously reported, City-based gossips are speculating that EMI owners Terra Firma are disillusioned with the music company, which has proven much harder to reinvigorate than they expected, and therefore, the gossips continue to say, the equity group would be open to any acquisition that would get them out of the music space sooner than originally planned.

Bronfman has long been a fan of the idea of a combined EMI Warner that could better compete with the two major's much bigger rivals - Sony and Universal - the latter major major having been originally created by the Bronfman instigated merger of MCA Universal and Polygram. Warner and EMI discussed merger a number of times before Terra Firma stepped in and acquired the latter, promising to reinvent the struggling major. Although quite a bit of reinvention has gone on, if Terra Firma are getting bored with their music business investment, Warner would be an obvious first port of call to discuss selling it off, despite the past regulatory difficulties that have surrounded proposals to merge the two smaller major music firms.

The Telegraph's Amanda Edwards noted earlier this week: "EMI and Warner Music should try to find a way round their differences. It is no secret the music industry has changed. Regulation is unlikely to prove problematic this time around and the growing force of the internet means the record labels must band together to combat it. While the music industry does work together to some extent, another large player would create a much-needed force at a time when many are questioning the viability of labels".

It should be noted that the official line is that Terra Firma remain committed to EMI, and neither sale nor merger is not being considered. Also, as mentioned, Bronfman's plans to become London-based are not directly linked to any EMI ambitions. And anyway, the boss of Terra Firma, Guy Hands, is now officially Channel Islands based ever since the British government increased the tax obligations of the offensively rich.

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BMG Rights Management, German media firm and former SonyBMG co-owner Bertelsmann's new music rights company, has announced a new deal with Irish independent Religion Music, which will see the BMG operation sell and administrate some of Religion's music publishing assets.

Confirming the deal, Religion founder Glenn Herlihy told reporters: "Religion Music is delighted to have teamed up with BMG to handle all their publishing interests worldwide. BMG is the right partner for us, and their out-of-the-box thinking and fresh approach was what we had been waiting for. With our recent move and upgrade of our studios in Ireland, we can now focus more on signing new artists and developing them knowing our publishing interests are in safe hands".

BMG's Hartwig Masuch added: "I am really impressed with Glenn's passion for meaningful artists and glad that he chose us to support his visions".

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Music and entertainment PR company the Outside Organisation has confirmed that one of its most high profile publicists, Stuart Bell, has left the company. His departure seems to be rather sudden, and with Outside confirming Bell is now on "gardening leave" it's thought the PR man is planning on launching his own rival agency.

Former record company publicist Bell was perhaps best known for heading up Paul McCartney's PR during his high profile and nasty divorce for ex-wife Heather Mills. He was seen as a heavyweight in the celebrity PR domain, and some had tipped him as a possible future chief at the Outside company when founder and CEO Alan Edwards eventually decides to retire.

The Outside Organisation recently took on Katie Price as a client following her separation from husband Peter Andre and the end of her relationship with the Can Associates management agency, who will continue to work with Andre. The suddenness of Bell's departure is illustrated by reports he had already started to work on the new Price account.

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There was a mixed response to yesterday's news that the previously indie-label focused download service eMusic had done a deal with Sony Music, though that was partly because a new pricing structure was sneaked in at the same time. With eMusic members pay a monthly subscription which enables them to download a set number of tracks from the service's catalogue each month. The company announced on Monday that subscription rates were going up or, in most cases, the number of tracks available under each subscription package was going down, so that the per-track rate would increase.

Although eMusic has to date been an indies only service more out of necessity than anything else - it has been DRM-free since the word go, which ruled out the involvement of the major record companies for years - some of the download firm's customers were attracted by the staunchly independent anti-corporate nature of their proposition. Nevertheless, even the most anti-corporate music fan will often include a number of major-signed artists on their favourites list, so the inclusion of music from Sony's two year old plus catalogue would presumably be welcomed by many of the eMusic faithful.

But not, some in the blogosphere argue, if the arrival of Sony has forced the price change. eMusic argue that the rate change is not a direct result of their Sony deal, and point out that their subscription charges have changed before, and that a number of their indie label partners have been urging them to increase the per-track rates for sometime.

Indeed some of those indie partners, most notably US rock indie Victory, withdrew from eMusic altogether because they considered the per-track rates to be too low. But that doesn't stop some from believing it was really Sony-led demands that actually caused the change in subscription packages and, depending on your viewpoint, that poses the question "does the arrival of Sony music justify the price increase" and/or "why did it take a major label to make eMusic do what the indies had been requested for years?"

Asked about all this by Digital Music News, eMusic chief Danny Stein again stressed that "independent labels have been asking us to change pricing for a long time", though admitted that the Sony deal had provided a useful "catalysing event" to enable the price shift. On why his company was now courting the majors, despite eMusic's previous indie credentials, he added: "For a long time we hoped that we could broaden our appeal - and many of our [existing] users complained that we didn't have enough music".

He concluded by saying that, while the Sony deal might mean more mainstream music starts to appear on his service, eMusic will still differentiate itself from its competitors in the way it editorialises its catalogue: "Britney Spears might be there, but we can write and contextualise it. We would like to carry all music, and we will contextualise it with the same voice".

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The BBC's commercial division, BBC Worldwide, has confirmed it now has the rights to sell footage from Radio 1's Big Weekend mini-festival, this year held in Swindon, on a global basis. It means that the BBC division's music unit will be able to sell on to non-UK broadcasters over ten hours of live performances including artists like Lily Allen, Kasabian, Ne-Yo and Snow Patrol.

The deal expands on BBC Worldwide's involvement with the Big Weekend assets last year, in which the division sold a highlights programme from the event internationally, and also full sets from four EMI artists, enabled by Worldwide's existing licensing deal with the London-based major. It's thought this year record companies for nearly all featured artists are on board.

BBC Worldwide's Salim Mukaddam told reporters: "I'm delighted that for the first time we are able to bring almost all of the outstanding performances from Radio 1's 'Big Weekend' to a global audience. Only 20,000 people from the UK are able to attend the event each day, but we are now able to bring a taste of the event to viewers all over the world. This is the first major festival of the year so in many territories these programs will set the musical tone for the summer. The fact that we've been able to bring this content to market is another sign of the success of our music television strategy".

In related news, the BBC has also revealed that the Big Weekend was the Corporation's "most interactive" venture to date, in that the accompanying online, mobile and red button services were the most accessed ever. The Big Weekend website received 7.4 million page impressions, up from 7.3 million in 2008, while page impressions on the event's mobile site were up threefold from 31,000 to 143,000.

Commenting on the whole shebang, Radio 1's Interactive Editor Ben Chapman told CMU: "This year's event was one of the biggest to date and I'm pleased that our interactive offering was able to reach so many people. We are always looking at how we connect with our audiences, and this success marks the beginning of an exciting year for interactive services from Radio 1 and 1Xtra".

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The government's Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has said broadcasters should take more responsibility for members of the public who are suddenly thrown into the limelight by talent shows.

He was responding to the news that Susan Boyle had been admitted to The Priory rehab clinic after the stress of becoming a global megastar overnight, and the resulting negative press that comes with such a status, proved too much for the showtune warbling spinster. While not specifically accusing 'Britain's Got Talent' producers - Simon Cowell, Syco and Talkback Thames - of actually failing to protect Boyle, he did urge TV firms to learn from their mistakes when looking after talent show finalists.

According to the Guardian, Burnham told the Broadcasting Press Guild: "If there needs to be a review of existing things then that will follow. Certainly I think there is a duty of care towards people on those programmes. I hope broadcasters take this seriously. I think any broadcaster will admit that there are lessons to be learned and how to do things better".

Despite expressing concern for the mental well-being of people catapulted to fame by TV shows, or being publicly defeated or criticised on live TV, Burham said he didn't believe those concerns should mean children should not be allowed to compete on 'BGT' type programmes. He said: "I personally think it is a positive thing celebrating young people's talent. I don't think it is a thing we should ban. Certainly not. [But] we should help them and put welfare first and that might mean making judgement calls".

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It's the MTV2/MySpace chart, based on votes by MTV2 viewers on MySpace. The top ten this week is as follows...

1. [6] The Chapman Family - The Kids Are Not Alright
2. [2] Baddies - Holler For My Holiday
3. [8] The Joy Formidable - Whirring
4. [7] Lacuna Coil - Spellbound
5. [3] Placebo - For What It's Worth
6. [4] Enter Shikari - Juggernauts
7. [NE] The Blackout - Children Of The Night
8. [9] You Me At Six - Finders Keepers
9. [RE] Papa Roach - Lifeline
10. [10] Taking Back Sunday - Sink Into Me

Meanwhile, added to the list for viewer voting this week are...

Bat For Lashes - Pearl's Dream
Kings Of Leon - Notion
The Rumble Strips - Not The Only Person
The Virgins - One Week Of Danger
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll

More at

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So, you're all following the latest pop feud, yes? In the blue corner are The Saturdays, you know, the all-female tat-peddling brand-partnership operation who occasionally sing songs. And in the red corner The Dolly Rockers, the slightly less polished girl group who first surfaced on the 'X-Factor' back in 2006 but who are back on everyone's radar as a result of Radio 1's Scott Mills bigging up their song 'Je Suis Une Dolly'.

Anyway, possibly aware that you can't beat a good feud if you want tabloid press coverage, one of the Rockers, Brooke Challinor, recently hit out at their somewhat more successful rivals, accusing them of being so manufactured that the actual identities of the group's members are irrelevant. Challinor told The Times "they could have been five completely different girls and nobody would have given a shit", before joking that perhaps her group should have some 'media training' before their next interview, remarking "you can see if that turns us into The Saturdays". Fellow Dolly Lucie Kay added: "We'd lose the will to live [if we were in The Saturdays]. If The Saturdays joined our band, they'd be ripped to pieces".

Responding, Saturday girl and former junior S Clubber Rochelle Wiseman posted the following Twitter message - "Dolly Trotters - aka CHAVS - don't like us, but use us for the are hard!", adding "anyway must dash, have a sold out tour to prepare for!"

So, that's fun.

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Eminem was apparently not Sacha Baron Cohen's first choice of celeb when the idea of his alter ego Bruno landing arse first onto an famous audience member was first proposed for the MTV Movie Awards. As previously reported, Slim Shady pretended to storm out in a huff after Cohen's alter-ego of the moment, Gay Austrian TV presenter Bruno, landing on top of him after a deliberately failed attempt to reach the stage via a flying wire dressed as a half naked angel. But Slim Shady's people were only approached about participating in the routine once Baron Cohen's first choice Paris Hilton had politely declined.

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Former Oasis guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs says that the group should have split back in 1996, following their sucessful Knebworth gigs. He departed the band in 1999 when he found that he was not enjoying working on 'Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants'.

Arthurs explains: "I wasn't feeling it any more. I would have been lying to the band and the fans. There were a lot of frantic phone calls and visits, but I'd made my mind up. I always thought we should have bowed out after the second night at Knebworth. Walking out on that stage is a feeling I can't explain - a sea of people. Big! Last year, I got on the guest list for an Oasis gig in Birmingham. It was exciting, but strange. I'd never rejoin them - not that I'd be asked. But for one gig? Absolutely. I still know the chords to 'Rock 'n' Roll Star'".

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