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Top Stories
Jacko's doctor posts video online
Government play down Mandelson P2P fine rumours
File-sharing banned in the Antarctic
Hip hop journalist murdered
In The Pop Hospital
Tommy Lee gets his fingers burned
Jim Dickinson dies
Reunions & Splits
Libertines 100% definitely reforming next year (probably)
Pumpkins announce new drummer
In The Studio
Elbow preparing for studio
Release News
Weezer announce album title
Eels release free live EP
Converge announce new album
Gigs N Tours News
Muse confirm hometown shows
Cream announces 17th birthday celebrations
Idlewild announce tour dates
The Music Business
Death Row doing films
Yeah, it was Warner Bros, obviously
The Media Business
Absolute piloting live music service
And finally...
Reading and Leeds ban flags
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

Formed in 2001, Welsh rockers Sal released their second album, 'Conversations With My Therapist', in June via Copro/Casket Music. Amongst the tracks on the album is the band's own Bond theme, 'Devil May Care', which was selected as the theme song for the audio book of Sebastian Faulks' James Bond novel of the same name. The album is currently available to download for free via a BitTorrent link on the band's MySpace page. We spoke to frontwoman Cat.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I had singing lessons at eight years old. The story goes, I asked my mam to take me to this huge mansion in the street above us as an opera singer had moved there. She wasn't teaching at the time but agreed to take me on as her first pupil. She became my mentor and it was there I learned breathing techniques and a whole repertoire. She played me a lot of classical music, and this is where my love for opera comes from. At home I listened to my dad's rock albums, Bruce Springsteen and The Beatles etc. My mam was into Mario Lanza and musicals, I think I must know every song from every old musical. My love for harmonies came from singing Welsh hymns at chapel every Sunday. As a teenager I got into pop and Motown, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and was a huge Suede and Radiohead fan.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Speaking for myself, a lot of emotional turmoil! I've been suffering with bad headaches for the past two years. I've tried almost every type of medicine and remedy known to man looking for a cure, and on this journey I started talking to a therapist. She's helped me gain a lot of perspective on things that have happened in my life and how they've shaped me as a person. From those sessions came a lot of inspiration lyrically, hence the title of the album 'Conversations With My Therapist'. We wrote and recorded a song which became the James Bond theme tune for the audio book of Sebastian Faulkes' 'Devil May Care'. It took two weeks from the first riff to the final version. We captured some real energy in the recording and that was something that had eluded us a little on our first album so that was the main aim this time.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Usually the music comes first - melodies and chords or a riff - and then we start jamming until a song starts to take shape. We work on the arrangement as a band while the lyrics evolve underneath. Noog, our guitarist, wrote most of our first album, 'Dysfunctional', but this time we wanted more of a band effort and I think the songs are much stronger as a result. Once we've got the main structure together we demo them just to make sure the arrangements are tight and tempos are right.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
There's a lot... Biffy Clyro and especially their album 'Puzzle', which was pretty inspirational stuff. Billy Talent is another band we love. Noog is into his punk, our bassist Chris loves his indie, and drummer Den... well, best not go into what he listens to, but all those influences come together as a hybrid which makes Sal.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I'd much prefer for someone to really listen to us and absolutely hate us than just to put it on in the background and talk over it or start vacuuming the carpet. We've had reviews in the past (naming no names) in which it's pretty clear that they've only listened to the first 30 seconds and skipped the rest, but feel they know enough about our music to review it! We've put a lot of time and effort, a lot of "us", into our music, and it's really annoying to have someone not even give us the respect of listening to it properly. Some people also have a lot of preconceptions with female fronted rock bands, and have a ready formed opinion before they've even pressed play. So I guess the message would be to listen to us properly, with an open mind, and enjoy!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
To get a lot of airplay so everyone out there gets to hear the album. It's the best thing we've done and so it's really exciting. I can't wait to get people as excited as we are about it. I'm looking forward to going on the road with my bandmates touring the album, that's always a lot of fun. After that start getting creative again and writing the next album.

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The world's biggest festival is taking place in Edinburgh right now. The Edinburgh Festival offers an unrivalled programme of theatre, comedy, dance, musicals, art, debate and music, music, music, all the way through to the 31 Aug. You should come! CMU's sister media ThreeWeeks is the biggest reviewer at it, and you can read some of the reviews from their music team each day for the next fortnight here at the top of the CMU Daily. For ThreeWeeks' full coverage check out


Courtney Pine - Tradition in Transition at the Edinburgh Jazz And Blues Festival on 2 Aug
Playing a set partly inspired by early jazz sax pioneer Sidney Bechet, and fusing elements of Afro-Caribbean and ethnic music, Courtney Pine demonstrated the virtuosity and chops that have kept him at the forefront of UK jazz for over two decades. He was joined on stage by impeccable musicians including Omar Puerte, Robert Mitchell and Darren Taylor, all of whom proved their skills in solo vignettes. Amid these fluid harmonious extensions and Pine's spirited, expressionistic abstractions, the ethos of 'Tradition In Transition' was a rich spectacle. It was enfused, more than anything, with the idea that improvisation and artistic creation transcend all cultural boundaries and oppositions. Such a masterfully played, eclectic set was a vibrant celebration, and greatly enjoyable.
tw rating: 4/5
reviewer: Alistair Baguley


Air Alba at The Royal Oak - daily until 30 Aug
Air Alba comprises seven shows promoting Scottish culture of which I saw only one - 'Nancy's Burns'. At this concert-come-history lesson, Nancy Nicolson welcomes all with the charm of a doting relative, and enchants her audience in the Royal Oak's intimate venue with tales of childhood, Scottish folklore and, of course, Robert Burns. It's tremendously endearing. As she invites volunteers to share a dram with her, you can't help think of family and fireside story-sharing; this is an experience unlike any other, and one is left feeling oddly changed as the show ends and the spell breaks. Nancy's talk is informative, her songs delightful. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but you'll never feel more at home at the Fringe.
tw rating: 4/5
reviewer: Ajantha Chandrasena


Simon Kempston at St Bride's on 11 Aug - playing again 24 Aug
Influenced by the historical and geographical background of his native state, Scottish folk artist Simon Kempston takes his audience on an insightful musical journey from the winding streets of Edinburgh, to Stirling's Ladies Rock and beyond. Demonstrating his abilities as a skilled political songwriter, Kempston's songs subtly address the country's changing social climate while avoiding the trap of being mawkish or insincere. Instead, he is warm, earnest and open in his delivery, his baritone voice complementing his distinctive blues finger-plucking style perfectly. It is this virtuosity and honesty which makes Kempston's performance so utterly engaging, warranting strong applause from its spectators. A melodious voyage into the Scottish psyche that is definitely worth the second trip.
tw rating: 4/5
reviewer: Sarah Nisbet


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Clients including Xfm, Red Bull, EA Games, Standon Calling, The Holloways, Bent, Hervé, My Toys Like Me, The Glade Festival, Sony Ericsson have chosen Leyline because of our reputation for innovative ideas, meticulous planning and ability to deliver on time and in budget! If you have any PR, marketing or promotional requirements in the near future, please do not hesitate to contact us! Email [email protected] or call 020 7575 3285


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Michael Jackson's personal doctor, Conrad Murray, who is currently being investigated for the manslaughter of the singer of course, has posted a short video on YouTube thanking friends and patients for their messages of support.

In the minute long video, he says: "Because of all that is going on, I am afraid to return phone calls, or use my email. ... I have done all I could do. I told the truth, and I have faith the truth will prevail".

According to reports, Murray has received death threats since being named as the person possibly responsible for Michael Jackson's death (by administering the prescription drugs that probably killed the singer) and has been forced to hire bodyguards.

Watch the doctor's message here:

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The government's Department For Business, Innovation And Skills has denied those reports that business minister Pete Mandelson is seriously considering giving the courts the power to fine persistent illegal file-sharers up to £50,000 and to have said file-sharers' internet connections cut off.

As previously reported, there were reports that Mandelson had decided to take a more hardline approach to file-sharing after lunching with David Geffen, the founder of Geffen Records and a co-founder of DreamWorks, of course.

Mandy's spokesman quickly denied any schmoozing with Geffen had caused the business lord to move piracy up the government's agenda, and yesterday his department added that there had been no radical change in policy regarding the sharing of unlicensed content online - so no fifty grand fines or net disconnections - and pointed journalists back to the 'Digital Britain' report.

As previously reported, 'DigiBrit' was rather lacklustre in the measures it proposed to combat piracy - suggesting that the courts might be allowed to force 'technical restrictions' on persistent file-sharers, but not for at least a year, presumably just in case everyone stops file-sharing anyway next March.

That said, while fifty grand fines and a French style three-strike disconnection deterrent are unlikely to happen, some are hopeful that when Mandelson et al implement the 'Digital Britain' recommendations they might actually develop measures regarding piracy somewhat more rigorous than those actually proposed in the report. Though that might just be wishful thinking on the record company's part.

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In sort of related news, P2P file-sharing as been banned in Antarctica. The IT Director of the United States Antarctic Program has reportedly issued a memo to staff working at the South Pole telling them not to use P2P clients on the PCs at the organisation's facility there.

The concerns there, though, are not so much copyright based (damn those US science types, hindering the record labels' attempts to grow their share of the emerging polar music market), but more about bandwidth draining and security risks. The memo reportedly notes: "P2P applications have the potential to overwhelm the internet connections on the ice and inadvertently bring malicious software and traffic into the network".

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Hip hop journalist and president of the Miami division of lifestyle magazine Don Diva, Sam Ferguson, also known as P-Man Sam and Sam Silvasteen, was shot dead in Miami on Friday, it has been revealed.

According to reports, his car was showered with bullets as he drove along the Florida Turnpike freeway on Friday afternoon. His car came off the road and crashed into the central reservation. Emergency services rushed to the scene, but he was pronounced dead there.

Ferguson is best know for unmasking rapper Rick Ross as a former prison guard in a piece he wrote for Hip-Hop Weekly in 2008. Although Ross initially denied the claim, he later admitted it to Ferguson in an interview for the October 2008 issue of Don Diva magazine. However, Ross was unhappy with the article and began a feud with the writer, recently saying: "Ferguson is a liar, he's an informant, he's a rat, he's a bitch. This shit about to get deeper than rap".

Police have launched an investigation and are looking for a black car seen driving away from the scene, but so far have found no motive for the crime.

A statement on the Don Diva website reads: "We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. Sam was not just the president of Don Diva South, he was our brother and family friend for over 20 years. Sam was well respected and loved by many. He will be missed".

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Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee has been unable to play a number of gigs on the band's Crue Fest 2 tour after burning his left hand while playing with some sparklers. Tommy Lee is 46 years old.

Writing on MySpace, frontman Nikki Sixx told fans: "Accidents do happen and, yes, frustration does happen to everybody, including Tommy, who would rather play drums (even with a damaged hand) than just about anything in the whole world. But following doctor's orders for a few shows is what we have to [do] right now. We all wanna say we're sorry Tommy has to sit out a couple shows, but we hope to have him back up on the drums ASAP".

Stepping in behind the drums until Lee's hand has healed is Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose, of whom Sixx said: "I think Morgan needs a standing ovation for his dedication to kicking ass and helping not only Motley Crue out, but the road crew and everybody else out here whose lives would [have] been effected [if we'd had to cancel these shows]".

Tommy is still appearing on stage "jumping around" and "helping out on vocals", but there's currently no word on when he will be able to play drums again. The tour runs until 2 Sep.

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Musician and producer Jim Dickinson died, aged 67, from heart failure on Saturday.

Born in 1941 and moving with his family to Memphis in 1948, Dickinson originally hoped to work in theatre, but switched to music after he was hired to sing on the Bill Justis Orchestra album, 'Dixieland Folk Style'. Although the album was a success, follow-up singles were less so, but he became a prolific session musician for Sam Phillip's Sun Records. In 1969, he played on sessions recorded by The Rolling Stones when they stopped off in Memphis during a US tour. The recordings became the band's 1971 album, 'Sticky Fingers', and Dickinson's role, particularly the piano solo on 'Wild Horses', was prominent.

After this, he joined Atlantic's Miami studio house band The Dixie Flyers. Although primarily a backing band for artists passing through, including Aretha Franklin, they began work on an album of their own. When guitarist Charlie Freeman's drug addiction caused them to split before the album was completed, Dickinson took the tapes back to Memphis and finished it as a solo album, 'Dixie Fried'.

Soon after he was hired to produce Ry Cooder's album, 'Into The Valley', beginning a long relationship which saw Dickinson produce many of Cooder's film soundtracks and join his live band, and kicking off his production career.

Over nearly 40 years, Dickinson produced albums for a huge range of artists, including Bob Dylan, Primal Scream, Big Star, Spiritualized, The Replacements, Toots And The Maytals, and Mudhoney. He also recorded several solo albums and occasionally performed with other Memphis bands.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

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Pete Doherty has announced that The Libertines will reform to play festivals next year. All he needs to do now is convince co-frontman Carl Barat to do it. Which, if I remember correctly, is exactly the same situation he was in before. That said, Barat has previously said he would consider it.

Doherty told the NME: "It's going to happen, you know. I spoke to [bassist] John Hassall, he's well up for it [and drummer Robert Powell] said he would [play the shows]".

Asked what he would do if Barat would not come on board, he said he would consider performing without him, "like he did without me". He's referring there to the period in 2004 when Doherty was kicked out of the band because of his drug use. Doherty should probably bear in mind that during the band's tour as a trio, he went and burgled Barat's flat. I'd want to keep him where I could see him.

But, anyway, Doherty added that he recognises that people would only be interested in a full reunion of the band, so added: "I'll put an advert in NME: 'Carlos lookalike required'".

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The Smashing Pumpkins have announced that 19 year old Mike Byrne will replace Jimmy Chamberlain as the band's drummer. Chamberlain, of course, left the band earlier this year.

Byrne told the band's official website: "I'm super excited to be playing with the band. Dream come true, man".

Asked about his audition, he added: "We didn't actually play songs at the audition. We just kind of jammed for about 15 minutes and then talked about Fugazi for the other 15 or so minutes. I think if you're born a drummer, you know you're going to be a drummer for your entire life".

Corgan added: "Through the open audition process, I was astounded by how many great drummers there were that wanted the chance to try out for The Pumpkins. We counted over 1,000 submissions, and what made Mike stand out was he just seemed to have that X-factor that all the great drummers have - a stunning blend of power, speed, and grace. I'm excited to work with him moving forward - he truly deserves this opportunity. I believe in my heart he will push me to be a better musician".

Byrne's first job will be to play for Corgan when he performs six solo shows later this month.

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Elbow frontman Guy Garvey has revealed that the band will go into the studio to begin work on their fifth album once they have finished their current round of touring next month, which includes dates with U2 and Coldplay. Although he said he had "no idea" when the album would be completed, he revealed that the band were planning to spend around six months in their Blueprint studio in Salford working on new material.

Garvey told BBC 6 Music: "We've got 30 or 40 odds and ends musically. I've got a couple of books worth of scribbles, so we're just going to keep doing that for maybe six months. I'm looking forward to being back in the bunker again, it's a great space on every level and it's got a real community buzz about it".

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Eels have made five tracks of a six track live EP available to download for free. The solo performance by main Eel Mark 'E' Everett was recorded as part of the MySpace Transmission Sessions and can be downloaded from The sixth track will only be available of a twelve inch vinyl edition of the EP, released on 1 Sep.

Here's the full tracklist:

In My Dreams
My Beloved Monster
That Look You Give That Guy
Girl From The North Country
Tremendous Dynamite
The Longing

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Metalcore kings Converge have announced details of their new album, 'Axe To Fall', the follow-up to 2006's utterly brilliant 'No Heroes', which will be released via Epitaph on 20 Oct (with the vinyl version appearing via Deathwish).

Guest appearances on the album come from Steve Brodsky, JR Connors and Adam McGrath from Cave In, former Entombed man Uffe Cederlund, John Pettibone of The Vows, Steve Von Till from Neurosis and Genghis Tron's Mookie Singerman.

You can hear the first track from the album, 'Dark Horse', on the band's MySpace page now - It is very, very good. While you're waiting to hear the rest, try looking at this list of their names and guessing what they might sound like:

Dark Horse
Reap What You Sow
Axe To Fall
Worms Will Feed
Wishing Well
Losing Battle
Dead Beat
Slave Driver
Cruel Bloom
Wretched World

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Muse have confirmed those previously reported gigs in the hometown of Teignmouth in Devon. The two shows will take place on 4 and 5 Sep at the Teignmouth Den resort ahead of the release of the band's new album, 'The Resistance', on 14 Sep.

Bassist Chris Wolstenholme told the BBC: "It is something we have wanted to do for a long time. It is not a money making exercise. We want to give something back to the community".

BBC Radio 1 have announced that they will be recording the shows and will broadcast highlights on a special Muse-themed night on 7 Sep. The night will also include behind the scenes banter with Zane Lowe and a new documentary covering the last decade for the band.

Tickets for the gigs go on sale on Friday at 9am and will cost £37.50.

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Liverpool club Cream turns 17 this year and has announced its annual birthday party, which will take place on 10 Oct in association with Mixmag.

Here's the full line-up:

Main Room: Eric Prydz (3 hour set), Sebastian Leger, Gareth Wyn, Anthony Probyn
Courtyard: Deadmau5, Chris Lake, Kim Fai, Lee Ellis
Annexe: Timo Maas & Santos presents Mutant Clan (4 hour set), Heidi, Andy Mac

Tickets are on sale now and cost £25. More info from

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Idlewild will be touring in October in support for their forthcoming new album 'Post-Electric Blues', which will be released on 5 Oct.

Tour dates:

10 Oct: Manchester, MCA
11 Oct: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
12 Oct: Exeter, Phoenix
13 Oct: Colchester, Arts Centre
15 Oct: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
16 Oct: London, Electric Ballroom
18 Oct: Oxford, Academy
19 Oct: Norwich, Waterfront
27 Oct: Middlesbrough, Empire
28 Oct: Leeds Cockpit
29 Oct: Birmingham BA2

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The recently resurrected Death Row Records label is expanding into film production.

As previously reported, Toronto-based WIDEawake Entertainment acquired the once legendary hip hop record company earlier this year via the bankruptcy courts, a previous purchase of the bankrupt label having fallen through. WIDEawake boss Lara Lavi is planning on raiding the Death Row archives - which include some seminal hip hop albums and a load of previously unheard tracks by iconic rap figures - as well as using the Death Row name for new projects.

The film division is one of the new projects - its first movie being called 'Sons 2 The Grave' and due to go into production on October. Lavi explains: "This film embodies what we're trying to do with Death Row, to tell human stories that don't always have happy endings, and that allow us to learn from violence and disenfranchised lives, but not glorify it".

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When, on Monday, we said that Jeremy Marsh had become Vice-Chair of Warner UK we obviously meant he had become Vice-Chair of Warner Bros UK, one of the major's two main UK divisions (alongside Atlantic).

I'm not sure major labels should be allowed to have divisions with very similar names to the parent company (Sony seem to managed without actually having a Sony Records division). Especially not in August when my Edinburgh Fringe fried brain (you know we also publish the biggest review media at the world's biggest festival, right?) can't cope with such things.

Yes that's it. Next year can EMI Records, Universal Records and Warner Bros Records all change their name for August? They have my permission to revert to the norm come September.

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Absolute Radio are testing a new digital service aimed at "a broad adult market" which would revolve around live sessions.

The Guardian quote an internal memo from the company's Brand Director, which reads: "The digital team have been busy building a new radio platform and we are almost ready to share it with you. Some of you may know it as Project Wallaby, Project Control, or 'Potentially the most exciting and innovative radio innovation ever'. Ok, that's my name for it, not that I'm biased".

He continues: "More details will follow and we will test the concept as a non commercial format first, before refining ready for a launch with potential commercial partners. We think it's one of a kind so it's going to be really exciting once we go through the traditional digital teething problems. It's only version 1 and we are looking at adding more features to it along the way".

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I hope you haven't spent money on a shiny new flag for the Reading and Leeds festivals, because flags are banned from the main arenas at both events this year. I also hope you haven't spent money on a shiny new flag (or even have plans to take an old one) because it automatically means I hate you.

For us sane and rational people who don't carry flags around with us, there will now be a chance we can see what's happening on the main stage. Let's hope all other festivals follow suit. Or that the government places a blanket ban on people who think that holding flags at music events is a good idea leaving their houses.

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