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Top Stories
A load more Jacko
In The Pop Courts
Bono's wife sues Paul McCartney's daughter
In The Pop Hospital
Gary Lightbody breaks rib in go kart crash
Pop Politics
Pirate Party to launch in UK
Mike Seeger dies
Reunions & Splits
Talking dog reforms Skunk Anansie
Kiri Te Kanawa retires from opera
In The Studio
Marling on new album
Release News
Calvin Harris premieres the Humanthesizer
Pissed Jeans offer bonus live CD
Gigs N Tours News
Kissy Sell Out announces tour and DJ competition
Everything Everything new single and tour
Festival News
Best of Edinburgh on the webby radio tonight, from ThreeWeeks
The Digital Business
Universal sue Russian ISP
Spotify to launch in China
7Digital expand into Sweden
Dre to encourage better quality downloading
The Media Business
Abdul fell out with Idol producers over pay discrepancy
Club Asia radio station in administration
And finally...
Ian Brown's kids refuse John Squire song
Nicotine to blame for Allen's smoking addiction
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Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

A performer from an early age, Ghostcat frontlady Ali Cat grew up in Toronto with people who went on to form bands like Crystal Castles and Death From Above 1979. In 2003 she moved to London to work as a model and ended up living with a Kilburn-based "aspiring art collective", where she met guitarist Dan Gamble and Ghostcat was born. Over time they gained members and drew in influences from bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills, the aforementioned Crystal Castles, Late Of The Pier and The Ting Tings to create a big pop sound. Their latest single, 'This Is A Bust', was released this week. We caught up with Ali to find out more.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
My mother plonked me down in front of a piano when I was just a toddler. Lessons followed, not just for piano but also violin, guitar and drums...not that I ended up being particularly accomplished at any of them. I could be considered a musical dilettante of sorts! I used to entertain my sister by making up silly little songs when we were very small, and I guess I wrote my first honest to goodness song at 14. I was a rather precocious child. I remember answering 'musicians wanted' ads at 13! In retrospect, it must have been pretty strange for any of the people whose ads I replied to; some little 13 year old girl insisting she wanted to be the singer in their band!

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The whole album's inspired by my checkered love life. Lyrically, it's all in there.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It varies. Things come to me sometimes, little snippets of vocal lines or a drumbeat, which I then convey to Dan and we proceed to flesh them out. Or he comes to me with a great riff. The best things assemble themselves in my head while I'm drifting off to sleep at night. Then it's just a question of being diligent enough to sing them into the voice recorder function of my phone before I fall asleep and forget them entirely.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Within the band there are wildly differing musical tastes, so I can't speak for anyone else. But I grew up worshipping at the altar of Madonna, definitely. And any other fiercely strong woman with a voice.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your album, and for the future?
Solid gold toilets, sleeping on a pile of money, groupies lined up round the block, all of the cliches, please! No, I just want to release the record, tour, repeat. That's my idea of bliss. I suppose in some respects I am easily satisfied!


Okay, I know this is the Social Networking Artist Profile Of The Day column, but I'm not sure it can technically be called that today. Atom hasn't logged in to his very basic MySpace page for almost a year and admits that he doesn't really understand how it all works. Oh, and he stopped making music in 2003. But, hey, I woke up with 'Happy Birthday Ralph' in my head this morning and now I can think of little else. You can hear a clip of that song (yeah, he doesn't even have full tracks up there), along with three others, including the classic, 'I Am Downright Amazed (At What I Can Destroy With Just A Hammer)', which should give you a fairly good introduction to the weird world of Atom And His Package. It's a world you will either hate for being so stupid and throwaway, or love for being so stupid and throwaway. If you love stupid, throwaway music, Atom is the man for you. Seek out the song 'Atom And His Package' for a handy explanation of everything you need to know.



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Now a pharmacy in Las Vegas has been raided by police investigating the cause of Michael Jackson's demise - presumably part of the ongoing investigation into exactly how Jackson got his hands on all those prescription drugs which he seemingly consumed on a regular basis, some of which probably killed him.

The US's Drug Enforcement Agency hasn't commented, though, on whether the latest raid is linked to the earlier search of the Las Vegas base of Jacko's private physician Conrad Murray who, as previously reported, has been the subject of much of the authority's investigations into Jacko, though it seems likely.

Of course toxicology tests undertaken by the LA coroner are expected to confirm that Jackson's cardiac arrest was brought on by one or another of the heavy-duty prescription drugs on which he seemed to depend. That said, we won't get that confirmation for a little while yet, because the coroner has announced that the full post-mortem report on the late king of pop will not now be released until police investigations are completed. Or get their hands on a copy, whichever comes first.

Jacko's body, meanwhile, remains above ground, or so says his father Joe, despite rumours earlier in this week that there had been a sneaky secret burial. Joe Jackson has refuted claims in the press that his son was buried in a private ceremony at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in LA earlier this week, insisting the singer was "not buried yet" and calling for a permanent memorial to be erected in Las Vegas. Perhaps next to the aforementioned drug store that possibly supplied the chemicals that killed him.

Finally in Jackson news for now, The Mirror claims it has found the mother of Jacko's youngest child, Prince Michael II, or Blanket, who, of course, was not brought into the world by the singer's ex-wife Debbie Rowe, unlike his two siblings Prince Michael I and Paris. They claim a Mexican nurse named Helena was paid $20,000 to be the boy's surrogate mother, with another unknown woman supplying the egg. It's thought that in this case Jackson himself provided the sperm.

The tabloid quote a Mexican doctor who they claim delivered the youngest Jackson. Dr Maria Castillo says: "There was an attorney at the birth. He took the baby away immediately after delivery. I didn't know who the baby belonged to when I delivered the child. I was later told by a nurse at Grossmont that the woman had named the baby Prince Michael Jackson. I said: 'Wow, I guess they like their rock stars. Maybe she likes Prince and Michael Jackson or something'. It never occurred to me it was Michael Jackson's baby".

A friend of the alleged surrogate told the tab: "[Jackson] kept his distance. She didn't have a chaperone or any kind of handler watching her every move or anything like that. She was a lovely person and told Michael the money would help her family out. Michael rang her a few times during the pregnancy to make sure everything was okay. He had a picture of Helena which he showed to close friends. But he never discussed whether he'd ever tell Blanket about his mom".

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What a brilliant headline. I don't want to spoil it by telling you the specifics of the story, but I guess I'm going to have to.

Bono's wife, Mrs Bono, is suing Paul McCartney's daughter, Macca Jr. Though both women are insisting on using their alternative names - Ali Hewson and Stella McCartney - when the case goes to court. Hewson, who owns a company called Nude Skincare, has taken an exception to a new fragrance released by McCartney called Stella Nude.

As a result Mrs Bono and her business partner, Mrs Bono's Friend (aka Bryan Meehan) have filed a lawsuit against Macca Jr claiming that the use of the word 'nude' in the name of her fragrance amounts to trademark infringement, because they own all rights to the word in relation to things you might put on your skin, or something.

A source told The Daily Mail: "Nude Skincare is suing for compensation, not because of anything to do with the scent of the perfume but because of branding and the use of the word 'nude'. Stella isn't likely to make any changes now because the fragrance is coming out in September and nudity is a big part of the perfume's look. The bottle, for example, is a nude colour".

The case is set to go to court in London later this year.

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Okay, musicians, will all of you please stop collapsing on stage and generally injuring yourselves in silly ways? It's not funny and it's not clever. Well, actually, some of them have been funny, but none have been clever.

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody has revealed that he was recently hospitalised after breaking a rib in a go karting accident following a T-Mobile Street Gig in Germany in July.

Lightbody told The Daily Record: "I had my very best idiot trousers on in Germany at the Street Gig and we did a go kart track in Dettenheim. I did say beforehand that I shouldn't be in charge of anything that can go over 20 miles per hour, and secondly I am the most accident-prone idiot in the western world. Did I heed my own advice? No! Crash after crash I finished on a particularly nasty one that put me in hospital where I discovered I had a broken rib".

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The good old Pirate Party, you know, the Pirate Bay supporting political outfit that enjoyed some success in Sweden in this year's European elections, has registered itself in the UK so that it could start putting forward candidates for elections here. Not sure if they actually plan to, though, of course, we are due a big fat General Election in the next year or so. And with the government's new digital man Stevie T sounding a little more hardline on piracy than his predecessor Stevie C, perhaps the pro-P2P lobby could benefit from pushing online copyright onto the election agenda.

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US folk legend Mike Seeger has died aged 75. A founder member of the New Lost City Ramblers in the late fifties, a group which arguably reinvented the folk genre and led the way for the likes of Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead, Seeger performed with various groups over the years, as well as guesting on many other artists' albums, and enjoying success in his own right as a solo artist.

The Ramblers were most active during the sixties, winding down somewhat in the mid-seventies, though they returned in 1997 with a comeback album called 'There Ain't No Way Out' having never actually officially split up. They continued to play together around the world, appearing at the UK's Cambridge Folk Festival in 2003.

Seegar is survived by his third wife Alexia, and the three son's he had with first wife Marge.

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The members of Skunk Anansie have reformed and recorded a new album. And it's all because of a talking dog.

Asked why the band were back together, bassist Cass told BBC Newsbeat: "My Dog. He kept telling me and I had to persuade these people that I wasn't mad".

Frontwoman Skin had other ideas, suggesting that it was actually their fans who had brought it about. She said: "They've been on our case for years for us to do this". I still reckon it was the dog, though. I mean, Skunk Anansie fans, that's a bit far fetched.

The band have a greatest hits compilation, called 'Smashes And Trashes', coming out on 14 Sep. But fans (and talking dogs) can expect new material too. Skin explained: "There's just a different kind of energy. There's not like a rehash of what we did in the 90s - they're more fierce. We're not trying to copy what we were doing before. We're seeing it as a new band".

The first taste of that new material will come in the shape of single 'Because Of You' and a UK tour in the autumn.

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After four decades as a soprano singer, Kiri Te Kanawa has announced that she is retiring from opera because she finds it too "exhausting".

The New Zealand-born singer told The Telegraph that her final operatic performance would be at the Cologne Opera in Germany in April next year, when she will sing the part of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss' 'Der Rosenkavalier'.

However, Te Kanawa said that she would remain involved with the world of singing, mentoring "future opera stars" at the Solti Academy and her own Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, as well as touring and performing in less tough disciplines.

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That Laura Marling girl has showcased songs from her second album at a gig in London. She had previously suggested her next long player would take a "medieval" direction, but she's admitted she has since dumped that plan. Speaking to 6Music Marling said: "Gosh, I shot myself in the foot saying that. I was doing a play-through of the songs to Ethan [Johns], who just produced my album, and we suddenly went on a mad brainstorm and decided that 'medieval' was definitely the direction we should be going in. Thankfully we came to our senses".

Discussing what she has created instead, Marling continued: "The vibe of it is pretty different to the old stuff. There's a lot more instrumentation. There's still a few solo songs but it's different".

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Calvin Harris has come up with a novel way to promote his new single, 'Ready For The Weekend'. Getting himself a singer, sixteen underwear-clad models, a pot of electric ink and someone with a camera into a room, he's recorded a video of himself performing the song on the Humanthesizer.

"It was sent to me by a team of boffins, and I took the boffin's idea and decided it should be done by attractive women", says Harris of the invention. I could sit here and explain to you what it is and how it all works, or you could just watch the video. Which would you prefer? Good, me too. here it is:

'Ready For The Weekend' is out this week, and Harris' second album, also called 'Ready For The Weekend', is released on Monday.

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Noisy rock chaps Pissed Jeans release their second album, 'King Of Jeans', next week via Sub Pop. And as a special treat, those of you who pre-order it through the Sub Pop website will get a free copy of the band's live set at last July's Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Festival. It's not going to be released anywhere else, so if you want that extra disc, you'd better hit the link below before 18 Aug.

Pre-order the album here:

Listen to a stream of the album in full (until 18 Aug) here:

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Kissy Sell Out will be heading out on tour next month, with a fantastic line-up of support acts, including Jack Beats, A1 Bassline, Grum, Lee Mortimer, Andy & Jaymo, Foamo, Scratch Perverts, Duke Dumont and our very own EddyTM (well, we don't own Eddy, but we do publish his Remix Update). Kissy himself will finish each night off with a DJ set.

Fans will also get a chance to play a DJ set at a selection of the gigs, through a mixtape competition. All you need to do is create a 15 minute mix and send it to Kissy via his MySpace page - The competition opens on 19 Aug and closes on 1 Sep.

Tour dates:

18 Sep, Manchester, Sankeys
19 Sep: Sheffield, Plug
20 Sep: Aberdeen University
24 Sep: Oxford, Simple
29 Sep: Leeds University
2 Oct: Southampton, Junk
3 Oct: Chelmsford, Bathhouse
6 Oct: Lancaster University
7 Oct: York, Fibbers
21 Oct: Bournemouth University
23 Oct: Bristol, Thekla
24 Oct: Warwick University

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Everything Everything, who you may have spotted we like quite a lot, have announced that they will release their third single, 'My Keys, Your Boyfriend', in October via Young & Lost Club. They'll also be touring around the release date, which is also nice.

Tour dates:

28 Aug: Reading Festival
30 Aug: Leeds Festival
7 Oct: Guildford, Boiler Room
8 Oct: Southampton, Hamptons
9 Oct: Portsmouth, The Albert
10 Oct: Bournemouth, 60 Million Postcards
12 Oct: Bristol, Start The Bus
13 Oct: Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
15 Oct: Tunbridge Wells, Forum
16 Oct: Derby, The Royal
17 Oct: Manchester, Night And Day
19 Oct: Leeds, A Nation Of Shopkeepers
20 Oct: Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire
21 Oct: Aberdeen, Tunnels
22 Oct: Newcastle, Digital
28 Oct: Birmingham, Flapper
29 Oct: Northampton, Roadmenders
30 Oct: Reading, Plug And Play
31 Oct: Bath, Moles
3 Nov: Brighton, Jam
4 Nov: London, ICA

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CMU's sister publication ThreeWeeks is busy being the biggest reviewer at the world's biggest festival, the Edinburgh Festival, as you all surely know. And if you like your comedy or your theatre or your dance or your art or your literature or, come to think of it, your music, you should go check out their coverage at, and then get yourself to the Festival City for a day of full-on cultural shenanigans.

Or, if you prefer your festival coverage in an audio stylee, either check out the ThreeWeeks iDaily podcast at, or tune in to the very first edition of the ThreeWeeks Radio Show for Festival 2009 tonight at 8pm.

ThreeWeeks has teamed up with Edinburgh's student radio station, Fresh Air, who webcast live from the Fringe daily throughout August, to provide you with five special radio shows packed full of great interviews and some tip top quality music. Oh yes. This venture will also see CMU/ThreeWeeks editor Chris Cooke broadcasting from the studios where he used to do that student radio thing for the first time in twelve years.

To listen just go to and you can tune in via your browser or iTunes or WinAmp, whatever you prefer. In fact, go online now, enjoy a day of festival coverage from the Fresh Air team, and then sit down and listen to the ThreeWeeks show from 8pm. Woo.

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The Russian bit of Universal Music is suing an internet service provider in the country for royalty revenues it claims it is owed from a short lived online music service.

Moscow-based net company Akado entered into a licensing agreement with the major in order to launch its web-based music service, but dumped the venture shortly after launch because of that pesky economic downturn. But Universal say they are still owed royalties for the period when the service was live.

A spokesman for the major confirmed to Billboard that legal proceedings had begun and should reach court this month, though added that out of court negotiations continued also. Given how few Russian operators even consider paying royalties, Universal probably don't want to completely fall out with one firm that did go to the effort of negotiating a deal, even if they couldn't afford to honour it.

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Spotify yesterday announced a new partnership with Chinese media conglom Tom Group which will bring the service to China. Under the agreement Tom Group will create a localized version of Spotify's PC- and phone-based software to its customers.

The deal increases Spotify's reach massively. Tom Group, the media arm of Hutchison Whampoa. which has previously done similar deals with eBay and Skype, has 300 million users in China, and a further 100 million in Greater China.

The deal will see Spotify go head to head with a number of other free streaming services, with China's three main telecom companies, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, all operating similar services already. Not to mention Google China's licensed music search service and fellow Chinese search company Baidu's slightly controversial not really licensed music search engine.

Principal analyst at BDA, Liu Ning told Brand Republic: "Many local websites are already providing the same free services in China for online music streaming. I don't expect Spotify to be popular in China, as Chinese people are not familiar with this website. It will depend on Spotify's business models".

But Sean Leow, co-founder of creative networking site, disagreed, saying that it was the best of the services available, though he noted that there are currently very few Chinese artists available on it. He said: "I think Spotify service is the best; it offers one of the largest bodies of streaming music available, [but has] a limited amount of Chinese musicians. Chinese music consumers are used to paying no money. I believe Spotify's free service would do well in China, but its premium subscription service will find it more difficult".

As previously reported, Spotify is reported to be planning to also roll out in the US later this year. When this happens depends partly on a new injection of venture capital. Following a valuation of $250 million last month, the company is apparently on the verge of gaining $50 million from the Li Ka-Shing Foundation and Wellington Partners and possibly one of the major labels.

It's not clear who, under the Chinese deal, will cover the bandwidth and licensing costs of the China service. Providing the technology to other net firms who then cover running costs through local ad sales or subscription revenues will presumably be an attractive proposition to Team Spotify.

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Elsewhere in digital expansions, London-based 7Digital has announced it is launching in Sweden. Look, here's 7Digital boss Ben Drury saying so: "Our Swedish offering continues our European expansion of local download stores and international partnerships. For Swedish consumers, MP3 downloads will be available via the new store at amazing prices and through partnerships with Spotify and 7Digital currently has the largest MP3 retail network in Europe. We provide partners with the largest possible European reach for digital music partnerships and promotions". Lovely.

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Dr Dre is going to single handedly fix the sound quality issues surrounding digital music. Well, he's going to stick his name on a new range of laptops which encourage music fans to download higher quality digital music files than the bog standard MP3. Which I'm sure will satisfy musos everywhere that their frustrations with MP3 sound quality have been fully addressed. The Beats By Dr Dre range from Hewlett-Packard will launch in the US this Autumn and include laptops, headphones and music-related software. Hurrah.

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Paula Abdul's departure from 'American Idol' was seemingly down to money, which isn't that big a surprise really. A friend of the former singer has said relationships between her and the show's producers soured after she started to complain about the major discrepancy between her pay packet and that of her male colleagues. Presenter Ryan Seacrest and chief judge Simon Cowell have both reportedly scored three-year deals worth $45 million while Abdul was earning between $2 million and $4 million per series.

According to the New York Times, Abdul started to complain about the pay situation, saying the discrepancy made her feel "disrespected" and "undermined", and it was that which ultimately led to the judge and show parting company.

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London-based AM radio station Club Asia, which launched in 2003 taking over frequencies previously owned by Liberty and Viva radio, has reportedly gone into administration. As well as its two AM services in the capital, the Asian-focused service also aired via Sky Digital. says that media regulator Ofcom has confirmed to them that the struggling radio station is on the brink, saying: "We have been notified that Club Asia have gone into administration".

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Ian Brown's kids seem to have a fairly active role in his business affairs. Recently he revealed that instead of giving them pocket money, he gives them signed merchandise to sell on eBay. Now it seems they scuppered a Stone Roses reunion, of sorts.

Brown revealed that his former bandmate John Squire had written a song for him to use on his new solo album. He told The Word: "It was good, sounded nice - I liked it". However, upon asking his children if he should use it the following apparently happened: "My sons turned round and said 'Dad, you can't work on that. He sold you out, didn't he?' John's manager asked if I liked the tune, and I said: 'I did, but my sons won't let me work on it'".

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Lily Allen would give up smoking but has revealed that she can't because she is "addicted" to the fags. Speaking to i-D, she revealed that she did give up while she was pregnant in 2007 because the idea of smoking made her feel nauseous, but has since got back on them and can't quit, despite being "hypnotized a few times".

Giving up smoking is easy, though. You just stop and then deal with the fact that you want a cigarette every single day of the rest of your life. I'm dealing with it just fine. Look, see how I'm dealing with it! I am doing just great and certainly don't have an overwhelming urge to go and chain a pack of Marlboros because Lily Allen just mentioned smoking. No, I am fine. Er, I'm just nipping out for a sec, be right back.

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