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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
C-Murder found guilty
In The Pop Courts
Doherty in court on driving charges
In The Pop Hospital
Brian Molko collapses on stage in Japan
Reunions & Splits
Brooks & Dunn call it a day
Artist Deals
Cymbals Eat Guitars sign to Memphis Industries
In The Studio
My Dying Bride finishing new EP
Release News
Elton John guest on Alice In Chains album
Sean Paul precedes new album with free mixtape
Books News
Nick Cave book to be released as iPhone app
Gigs N Tours News
Twilight Sad announce October tour
Reviews
Album review: Sally Shapiro - My Guilty Pleasure (Permanent Vacation)
The Music Business
Anirban Saha joins Anorak London
The Digital Business
Facebook buying FriendFeed
Spotify hire Faisal
Better micropayment system needed for album-free future
The Media Business
Cowell re-signs
Guardian considering subscription "club"
And finally...
Calvin Harris: "One man's party is another's hellhole"
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
WEDNESDAY 12TH AUGUST


MIIKE SNOW
Formed in 2007, Miike Snow is made up of American singer-songwriter Andrew Wyatt and Swedish songwriting and production duo Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, aka Bloodshy & Avant. Separately they have already built up impressive CVs, Wyatt having just co-produced Daniel Merriweather's debut album with Mark Ronson, and Bloodshy & Avant best known for their Grammy Award-winning work on Britney Spears' 'Toxic'. Their debut UK single as Miike Snow is out this week via Sony/Columbia, with their eponymous debut album due out in October, meanwhile you can catch them live at Cargo in London on 21 Aug. Before all that, we spoke to Andrew Wyatt to ask our Same Six Questions.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I started by writing little songs on the piano when I was eight. We had a piano and my dad listened to a lot of Thelonious Monk, so I would try to come up with weird little melodies like him. I truly loved his music even as a child. Christian started out in Swedish punk bands, and listening to a lot of Misfits and Danzig, while Pontus grew up in a musical family and so had a lot of classical music floating around, as well as DJing and booking raver clubs in high school.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
We love a lot of different things... Nina Simone, Booka Shade, Swans. How do you reconcile that? I don't have any answer. We just do what we do in the studio and that is our answer. Whatever instrument or chords or melody feels good to us, that's what we go with!

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
We made this record in a studio in Sweden where we had a vast array of instruments and sounds lying about. Starting points, if you wish. From that perspective the song and the track are quite the same thing, it all gets traced-out at the same time. It could be any element that comes first: a vocal idea, a drum machine from an old organ. Or a joke. Seriously. We had a lot of fun making this record. So we just build it from there. I wish I could be more specific but it's really more like a clothed orgy. We'd be shocked that we got good work done because it didn't feel constrained at all.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Well, I think a key thing in establishing your own sound is to do like other artists do but not do AS they do. Be creative, take risks, talk about things that have emotional value to you but do it in a way that doesn't insult the intelligence of those you respect, but as Rakim said: "Don't sweat the technique". Some giants: Richard D James, Bjork, Neil Young, Brian Eno.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Thank you for illegally downloading our album. Now please come to our concert and buy a t-shirt.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Right now our focus has been expanding the dimensions of our live show. It's become more of a rave, wherein we play 12" versions of several of our songs. We are loving the long departures. But now we've also begun to have people come down to the shows who know all the songs. So for them it's like, we throw you up in the air for eight minutes or so, then catch you with a chorus that you know and hopefully love. I always feel those are the best concerts - not too hard to get a foothold as the listener, but also not too easy!

MORE>> http://www.myspace.com/miikesnow

 
THE BIG PINK
The Big Pink's debut album 'A Brief History Of Love' has been on heavy rotation since it arrived in the CMU office. Consisting of Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell, who for several years separately made and promoted noise at various levels of extremity, they are joined live by a revolving line-up of musicians, which currently features Akiko Matsuura (who also fronts two more of CMU's favourite bands, Pre and Comanechi) and former Sunn O))) member Daniel O'Sullivan. But, yes, the album. Very much an extension of their noise-based past, Furze and Cordell have switched off the much of the distortion that would once have pervaded everything, leaving melody and even pop sensibilities exposed. This is nonetheless filled out with swirling, room-filling guitars which up the epicness and help to both mask and enhance layers that can only be uncovered with repeat listens. The album is out on 14 Sep, in the meantime, check out next single 'Dominos' and second track 'Velvet' on their MySpace page.

www.myspace.com/musicfromthebigpink



 

C-MURDER FOUND GUILTY
Rapper C-Murder, real name Corey Miller, has been found guilty, for the second time, of second degree murder in relation to that 2002 shooting of a teenage fan. The verdict comes after dramatic scenes in the court, with the judge initially refusing to accept the jury's verdict.

Just three hours after both sides rested, the jury briefly deliberated before being sent home for the day. The next morning they returned a verdict of guilty, but were ordered to deliberate further by Judge Hans Liljeberg after it was revealed that they had been deadlocked immediately prior to reaching their decision. Judge Liljeberg said the verdict was invalid as it appeared that one of the jurors had changed their vote simply to end deliberations. He pointed out that jurors considering lesser charges usual take over eight hours to reach a verdict and told the juror in question to think whether her vote had been in good faith.

The invalid verdict caused Miller's lawyer Ron Rakosky to call for a mistrial for the second time during the trial, but his call was refused again. The jury left the court for another six hours before voting 10-2 in favour of a guilty verdict yesterday at around 1.30pm. Ten votes are the minimum required for a second degree murder conviction.

As previously reported many many times, Miller was accused of murdering 16 year old Steve Thomas at the now closed Platinum Club in Harvey, Louisiana in 2002. The teenager was shot through the heart while being beaten by a group of men at a rap concert. The rapper has always maintained his innocence, but was convicted of the crime in 2003. However, the conviction was overturned a year later when Judge Martha Sassone agreed that prosecutors had improperly withheld background information on three eyewitnesses.

In his closing statement on Monday, prosecutor Shannon Swain told the court: "If Steve Thomas were here today, he'd be 23. He'd want you to know C-Murder isn't his hero anymore. The last time he looked up to him was 12 Jan 2002. And the last time he looked up to him, he shot him".

Miller's lawyer said that two of the prosecution's thirteen witnesses had provided weak testimony, including the previously reported Kenneth Jordan who claimed to have seen Miller shoot Thomas, but had, under cross-examination, revealed that he had reached a plea deal to have a sexual offence charge dropped in exchange for his testimony.

Rakosky claimed that prosecutors had used "coercive tactics" to force Jordan to testify against his client, leading to his first call for a mistrial on Friday. The request was refused by Judge Hans Liljeberg, after which the prosecution rested its case.

Rakosky told the jury in his closing statement:"These people didn't give you anything whatsoever that can help you tip the scale against Corey Miller".
After hearing the verdict in a silent courtroom (Liljeberg having said he would have anyone who so much as gasped when it was delivered arrested), Steve Thomas' father George told reporters outside: "I'm not rejoicing. I feel bad for [Miller's] family. But at least they can see him. What have we got but a gravesite and a photograph?"

Members of Miller's family refused to accept the verdict, with his sister Germaine claiming that the prosecutors in the case were corrupt. His aunt, Marie Miller said: "This isn't over. This verdict is wrong. We will not let this rest".

Rakowsky refused to comment, but prosecutor David Wolff pre-empted his next move, saying that the verdict would stand up on appeal: "The judge ran a very clean trial. Deliberating on a homicide case is difficult".

The judge himself responded to suggestions that he had put too much pressure on the jury to reach their verdict, saying: "I don't think I pressured them at all. I told them if they could not reach a verdict to let me know".

Miller must now serve a mandatory life sentence, pending any appeal. He is currently also awaiting sentencing on separate charges of attempted murder.

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DOHERTY IN COURT ON DRIVING CHARGES
Pete Doherty appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates Court yesterday to face various driving and drugs charges.

As previously reported, on 11 Jun Doherty was arrested in Gloucester and charged with drink driving and possession of class A drugs when police spotted him driving erratically after leaving the city's Guildhall venue, where he had been playing a solo gig. At a hearing the next morning he was freed on £50,000 bail, which was paid by his manager.

The singer pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous driving, but admitted two counts of drug possession and driving without a licence or insurance. He entered no plea on the charge of drink driving.

The case has now been referred to Gloucester Crown Court, where it will be heard on 2 Oct. Doherty has been released on conditional bail until then. Judge Joti Boparai lifted a curfew preventing him from leaving his Wiltshire home between 7pm and 7am, but banned him from travelling in the front seat of a car until his next hearing.

Upon leaving the court, Doherty stopped on the steps to pose for photos and sign autographs.

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BRIAN MOLKO COLLAPSES ON STAGE IN JAPAN
Only yesterday we were reporting on Jet's Nic Cester collapsing on stage in London, now we get news that Brian Molko fainted on stage in Japan on Sunday. But while Cester turned out to have gastroenteritis, Molko has an unspecified virus, which, if I'm not mistaken, means we should now burn him as a witch.

In a statement issued on Monday, the band said: "It is always incredibly disappointing when a show cannot take place for any reason, particularly on this occasion due to Brian being unwell, as we have looked forward for such a long time to these shows in Japan.We have undertaken a gruelling and intensive schedule over the last few months and the last couple of weeks alone played five countries in nine days. Brian picked up a virus which coupled with jet lag and exhaustion caused his collapse on stage. Thanks to prompt and professional care Brian is recovering well".

I don't care how well he's recovering, I still think we should burn him just to be on the safe side.

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BROOKS & DUNN CALL IT A DAY
Grammy award winning country types Brooks & Dunn are calling it quits after two decades together - just one greatest hits album separates us from the end of it all. That'll be out next month. In a joint message on their website, the duo said: "This ride has been everything and more than we could ever have dreamed ... We owe it all to you, the fans".

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CYMBALS EAT GUITARS SIGN TO MEMPHIS INDUSTRIES
They only formed in 2008, but Cymbals Eat Guitars have already been whipping the hype machine into action with their Pavement-meets-Mogwai guitars, lush orchestral layers, unexpected time signature changes and moments of beatific calm.

The New York-based band have just announced that they have signed to Memphis Industries for the UK release of their debut album 'Why There Are Mountains'. Produced by Kyle 'Slick' Johnson (Modest Mouse, The Hives), it'll be out on 26 Oct.

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MY DYING BRIDE FINISHING NEW EP
Yorkshire doom metallers My Dying Bride have revealed that they are putting the finishing touches on a new EP at the Futureworks studio in Manchester. Entitled 'Bring Me Victory', it will feature two covers, one of The Swans' 'Failure' and another of the traditional folk ballad made famous by Simon & Garfunkel, 'Scarborough Fair'. The latter will either be the best thing ever or hilarious. Either way, I think we win.

A post on the band's official website said: "An October release date has been pencilled in but this may be put back a little depending on how the last days of recording go".

The band's most recent album, 'For Lies I Sire', was released in March.

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ELTON JOHN GUEST ON ALICE IN CHAINS ALBUM
A track on Alice In Chains' new album features a piano part played by Elton John, the band have revealed. John appears on the album's title track, 'Black Gives Way To Blue', a tribute to the band's former lead singer Layne Stayley, who died of a drug overdose in 2002.

Speaking about John's involvement, guitarist Jerry Cantrell said: "We were thinking about adding piano to the track and a friend suggested we call Elton. I remember laughing and saying, 'Yeah, I'll get right on that'. But I decided it was worth trying and wrote Elton an email explaining what that song means to us - that it's a real, raw openhearted song for Layne. We sent him the track and got a call shortly after saying he thought it was beautiful and that he wanted to play on it. We were blown away. Elton John is a huge influence on me as a songwriter and having him on that song is an amazing honour for us".

He continued: "Elton was finishing his Red Piano run in Vegas, so we flew there and hung out for a few hours. Walking into a studio and seeing the sheet music for that song on Elton's piano made it meaningful on so many different levels. The whole experience was pretty magical".

Elton added: "I've long been an admirer of Jerry Cantrell and when he asked me to play on 'Black Gives Way To Blue', I was very flattered and couldn't resist. It was a great recording session with Alice In Chains for a beautiful song".

The album, 'Black Gives Way To Blue', is due for release in September. Here's the tracklist:

All Secrets Known
Check My Brain
Last Of My Kind
Your Decision
A Looking In View
When The Sun Rose Again
Acid Bubble
Lessons Learned
Take Her Out
Private Hell
Black Gives Way To Blue

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SEAN PAUL PRECEDES NEW ALBUM WITH FREE MIXTAPE
Sean Paul has released a free mixtape of some of his best known tracks to give you a refresher course ahead of the release of this new album, 'Imperial Blaze', which is released on Monday.

Entitled 'The Dutty Chronicles', the mix has been put together by Federation Sound and can be downloaded as one mix or as individual tracks.

Mix
Tracks

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NICK CAVE BOOK TO BE RELEASED AS IPHONE APP
Nick Cave's second novel, 'The Death Of Bunny Munro', will be made available as an iPhone app, it has been revealed.

The iPhone edition, which will apparently be released before the print version, will allow readers to change fonts and colour and add virtual bookmarks when you decide to stop reading (you know, like a book). The text will automatically scroll up the screen (the speed of which you can adjust depending on your reading speed) and the audiobook version will be bundled with it. But the most interesting part is a feature that allows you to switch between the audio and text versions. If your eyes get tired, just pop in your headphones and Nick Cave will arrive (ie in recorded form, he will not actually 'arrive') to read the rest to you.

Nick Cave and Bad Seeds collaborator Warren Ellis have also composed a soundtrack to the book, although I'm not entirely sure if this is included in the iPhone app or not.

The hardback edition of the book will be published by Faber & Faber on 8 Sep. Cave's first novel, 1989's 'And The Ass Saw The Angel', will be re-issued to coincide with the new release.

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TWILIGHT SAD ANNOUNCE OCTOBER TOUR
Dark-edged, big noise types The Twilight Sad will be touring the UK in October to promote the release of their next single, 'Seven Years Of Letters', on 19 Oct, and their second album, 'Forget The Night', which precedes it on 5 Oct.

Tour dates:

20 Oct: Newcastle, Cluny
21 Oct: Manchester, Ruby Lounge
22 Oct: Leeds, Cockpit
23 Oct: Cardiff, The Gate (SWN Festival)
24 Oct: Nottingham, Bodega
26 Oct: Birmingham, Hare and Hounds
27 Oct: Cambridge, Portland Arms
28 Oct: Norwich, Arts Centre
29 Oct: London, Scala
30 Oct: Brighton, Freebutt

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sally Shapiro - My Guilty Pleasure (Permanent Vacation)
Swedish chanteuse Sally Shapiro helped kick-start the renaissance of Italo Disco in 2007 with her critically lauded debut album 'Disco Romance', which has since been continued by the acts on the Italians Do It Better label, though Shapiro has much more in common with her fellow Scandinavian practitioners of the genre than that lot. Notoriously shy and reclusive (she never performs live), she's an unlikely pop star but, compared with her debut, 'My Guilty Pleasure' has been released with vastly more publicity; such has been the attention from influential music websites such as Pitchfork. Those familiar with 'Disco Romance' will recognise the signature Sally Shapiro sound; feather-light vocals reciting tales of love and longing, backed by Johan Agebjorn's brooding, melancholic synthesisers. Nothing much has changed for her second album; the template remains intact, but why change a successful formula? The first single, 'Love In July' begins with barely-there, mournful piano, before building into something almost from another planet entirely. 'He Keeps Me Alive', a track that's been kicking around for some times and features extensive use of vocoder and 'Looking At The Stars', more epic in length than Sally's usual three minute pop nuggets, are amongst other highlights of a very consistent album, as we've come to expect. There's no reinventing of the wheel, no major attempts to try anything different just yet, but that might come in time. 2009 has already been the year of the meeting of synthesisers and female vocals. There's not a world of difference musically between Sally Shapiro and Little Boots, say, but the latter can't hold a candle to Shapiro. KW
Release date: 25 Aug
Press contact: Darling Department [All]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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ANIRBAN SAHA JOINS ANORAK LONDON
Former head of global advertising and analytics strategy at Last.fm, Anirban Saha has just been appointed Head Of Digital Strategy at Anorak London (formerly Scruffy Bird PR, in case you're still catching up). Saha, who also formerly working in interactive marketing at AOL Europe, joins the rapidly growing team at the London-based PR company.

Anorak co-director Laura Martin told CMU: "We are extremely pleased to have brought Anirban into the company. He provides invaluable insight and digital knowledge which not only strengthens our award winning online PR department - headed by Alex Fordham - but in addition aids the company's growth as a whole. He'll also be using his marketing background to work on branding initiatives - he's a valuable asset to our team".

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FACEBOOK BUYING FRIENDFEED
Facebook have said they will buy FriendFeed, which, for the uninitiated, is "a real-time feed aggregator that consolidates the updates from social media and social networking websites, social bookmarking websites, blogs and micro-blogging updates, as well as any other type of RSS/Atom feed" (thanks to Wikipedia for the description). In fact I'd say it was my favourite real-time feed aggregator that consolidates the updates from social media and social networking websites, social bookmarking websites, blogs and micro-blogging updates, as well as any other type of RSS/Atom feed.

There are similarities between FriendFeed and Twitter, except my Mum has heard of the latter, of course. Facebook tried to acquire Twitter last year, and the FriendFeed deal - specifics of which are unknown - is a sign that the still dominant social networking website is keen to diversify into those newer areas of the web which could become a threat to more traditional kinds of social networking and online information sharing (if anything to do with the web can be considered "more traditional").

That said, insiders say Facebook are actually more interested in acquiring the techy talent that exists inside FriendFeed than the infrastructure they have already built, it having been an undeniable influence on many of Facebook's newer features.

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SPOTIFY HIRE FAISAL
Spotify have appointed Faisal Galaria as their Global Head Of Business Development. Which is gloriously disruptive. You might think that's an odd thing to say, but look, here's what Galaria had to say about the new job: "I am passionate about building disruptive companies. Spotify is changing the way we all enjoy music and the old paradigms of music ownership. It's going to be fun". Galaria was previously MD International of Kayak, a popular travel website that I've never heard of.

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BETTER MICROPAYMENT SYSTEM NEEDED FOR ALBUM-FREE FUTURE
So, Radiohead's Thom Yorke being a bit down on the album format has rekindled the whole "is the album dead" debate, hasn't it? If you missed it, Yorke said in an interview that recording albums was hard, which everyone's taken to mean the band won't be recording any more of them. The major labels developing that new "it comes with shiny bits" enhanced digital album - in a bid to persuade single-downloading digital music fans they might want to buy LPs - may have also contributed to the debate.

But before those of you who advocate a single track/EP driven future for the music business get too excited, James Bates, a media expert from accountants Deloittes, has stepped in to dampen your optimism. He reckons the internet needs a better micro-payment system if single track releases is to become the future of the music business. Damn accountants, spoiling all our fun with technicalities.

Bates: "Radiohead's [apparent] decision [to stop recording albums] does not signal the beginning of the end of the album. Over the short to medium term the album will remain an excellent medium for listeners to explore a bands' music and develop a relationship".

He continues: "A future where music is released online in single or EP format, as and when bands choose, will require a more fluid and simpler payment system. It will need to minimise each transaction cost and reduce the overall number of card or bank transactions. Ideally such a micro payment system would be deployed across multiple websites to track users and reduce the time spent registering and recalling different login credentials".

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COWELL RE-SIGNS
That's 're-signs' not 'resigns'. It may only be a hyphen, but it makes a world of difference. Abdul may be out, but Cowell has signed on the dotted line to keep him inside the 'American Idol' franchise for at least three more seasons. By which point civilisation as we know it will probably be dead, so that's basically him signing up forever.

Cowell's three year involvement in the US pop talent show was confirmed by Robert Sillerman, the boss of CKX, the American media firm that owns Idol makers 19 Entertainment. He didn't discuss how many zeros appeared on the fee line of Cowell's new contract, though I hear that it was him getting rights to the axed Abdul's former hair products budget that clinched the deal.

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GUARDIAN CONSIDERING SUBSCRIPTION "CLUB"
While Rupert Murdoch sees if he can turn online into a revenue stream by re-launching the Sunday Times website as a subscription service, the Guardian is considering setting up a pay-to-join "members club" through which the paper's readers can connect, network, meet, engage, and slag off the Daily Mail.

The club, which might have sub-sections for some of the broadsheet's niche audiences, like teachers, social workers and us media types, would offer readers a range of mainly online services, and may be access to some events. It's not clear how it would all work, but the club is basically a way of persuading readers to pay a monthly or annual subscription.

We know this because LiberalConspiracy spotted that the paper had sent out a survey to some of its readers about such a paid-for service, though it does seem to be an idea just now - a spokesman told paidContent:UK: "A small representative group of people were asked a number of general open questions, [but] this is just at the ideas stage".

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CALVIN HARRIS: "ONE MAN'S PARTY IS ANOTHER'S HELLHOLE"
Calvin Harris has said he has no time for the London celebrity circuit, branding it a "fucking hellhole". Which seems fair.

He told tilllate (that's the new name for dance mag M8, remember): "I want to make music. I don't really party anyway, I don't drink any more either. I don't need to party and I've actually got too much to do all the time anyway. It's a subjective thing - one man's party is another man's fucking hellhole. There's a lot of them in London that I just don't want to be at, at all. Working is my partying; I have a party in my own little room... with me. On my own".

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