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Top Stories
Citibank getting tough with its debtors - what does that mean for EMI?
Vodafone confirms it will sell iPhones
BT say three-strikes very expensive, and it just won't work
In The Pop Courts
Lady Sovereign fined for spitting
In The Pop Hospital
Marilyn Manson free of both pigs and flu
Pop Politics
Cuban musicians allowed back into the US
Former BARD chair dies
Awards & Contests
Teen band kicked out of X Factor
In The Studio
Robbie recording with Take That, reports claim
La Roux consider second album sound
Release News
Stream the new Deadmau5 album
Gigs N Tours News
Thom Yorke announces new band
Dizzee and Lily to co-headline
The Ghost Of A Thousand tour dates and single
Album review: The Young Republic - Balletesque (End Of The Road)
Brands N Stuff
Absolute and EMI provide advertiser music service
The Music Business
Frenchkiss teams up with !K7
The Digital Business
HP computers to come with 1000 downloads
New volume restrictions for MP3 players being considered
The Media Business
Global hire new web guy
Tory man's twat remark not in breach of rules
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Robbie ditched 'pretentious' album title
Oasis split left Furtado 'inconsolable'
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts

Shambolic, chaotic and noisy are three words you may like to use in order to describe Pens, even though two of them mean the same thing. Disorderly is another. But that would make three words that mean pretty much the same thing, and I reckon that's probably too many. Anyway, Pens make short and sweet garage pop, a taste of which can be found on their new album, 'Hey Friend, What Are You Doing?', which is released by De Stijl Records this week. We spoke to keyboard player Helen to ask our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I had piano lessons when I was seven and clarinet later, but was never on stage until now with my best friends. Amelia and Stef had formed the band, and I joined in on keyboards for our first practices in Stef's bedroom.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Hard graft! A ton of different things - mostly the excitement of being in a new band, writing songs and seeing where they took us.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
We'll generally write it at practice, then have a really hard bit when it all goes wrong, then it all comes together eventually. The lyrics usually come last.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
We all have different tastes, which meet somewhere in the middle, but in general we really admire people with the guts to do things that they really believe in.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Nothing, I think. They can make up their own minds. I think you should be able to listen to music with an open mind and not be swayed by prior opinions.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I really hope that the people who would like the album will get to hear it. For the future, I'd love to visit as many places as possible to play, and write more songs that people enjoy.

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The New York Post has been speculating what Citigroup's apparent mission to rid itself of dodgy debtors might mean for one of its biggest borrowers, EMI.

The Post notes that the struggling US bank has been getting rather tetchy about problematic debt payers of late, even going as far, they claim, as to push German fashion designers Escada into bankruptcy last month, while talking tough with another fashion house, Valentino. The Post claims that Citi is so keen to get troubled loans off its balance sheet that it is considering forcing companies to wind up even when there may be backers on the sideline willing to step in and help refinance.

All of this is relevant to EMI because, as much previously reported, Citibank provided a lot of the funding that enabled Terra Firma's ambitious takeover of the London-based major in 2007. The music firm has considerable debt commitments to the bank which Terra Firma has been busy trying to renegotiate in recent months, so far without success. In much the same way Terra Firma boss Guy Hands recently admitted he would never have bought EMI had he known the credit crunch was looming in summer 2007, I think it's fair to say Citibank would never got involved had they realised they wouldn't be able to sell at least some of the EMI loan on to other lenders (there being no takers for such deals in a recession).

The Post has no evidence to suggest Citibank has decided that, if push comes to shove, it can afford to let EMI collapse, and insiders at the major and its private equity owners recently insisted that the music firm's fortunes have improved sufficiently in the last six months that it is no longer so reliant on renegotiating its Citibank deals to ensure near-term survival.

But I think the paper's point is that, with some in the banking sector looking to cut their losses as they attempt some sort of recovery from recent woes, it's not a good time to owe one institution such large sums of money. And while this month's Beatles boom and any possible Robbie revenues may give the major some breathing space, those debt commitments, to an antsy bank that's demonstrated its willingness to press the self-destruct button when necessary, means question marks will remain over EMI's long term future for sometime to come.

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Vodafone have confirmed that they too will be selling the iPhone from in the near future. As previously reported, with O2's exclusivity deal with Apple coming to an end next week, Orange announced yesterday it would soon be selling the popular iPod/mobile hybrid. Vodafone confirmed rumours that it too would soon be selling the iPhone this morning, with a 2010 launch looking likely.

It's thought the sale of iPhones by three UK mobile networks - Orange, Vodafone and existing seller O2 - will lead to a price war over the devices. The Telegraph quote Steven Hartley from research firm Ovum who says this: "There will be a price war. Research shows that in every country where there is more than one operator selling it, it is cheaper. It could be very disruptive, but it depends how Orange play it. If they get really aggressive O2 will have to respond and a full-on price war could start".

So that's nice. Virgin Mobile are also reportedly busy trying to secure a deal to sell the iPhone in the UK, worried that failure to do so will lose them customers. The Apple handset is certainly popular - Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao recently said he thought a key reason his network lost nearly 160,000 subscribers in the last quarter was because his company couldn't sell them an iPhone. And a price war on the device would make it an attractive purchase to an even bigger audience.

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There's been a bit of disagreement between mega-tel-co BT and record label trade body the BPI over the costs of implementing the previously discussed three-strikes programme.

The internet service providers are against any proposals that they play a more proactive role in policing online piracy, and especially those proposals that they limit or suspend the net connections of persistent file-sharers - ie the proposals currently being considered by the UK government. They often cite privacy concerns as a reason for refusing to more closely monitoring their customers' net activity as well as questioning why they should foot the bill for tackling online piracy when it's the content owners who will benefit.

One BT exec, John Petter, recently spoke out against the latest three-strikes proposals, telling reporters they wouldn't work, and that they could cost the ISP industry up to £1 million a day to implement, which seems like a bit of an exaggeration, but there you go.

A spokesman for the phone firm later added: "Many peer to peer applications are perfectly legal, such as World Of Warcraft and BBC iPlayer. To investigate the exact nature of each case [of P2P traffic] would involve an intrusive level of inspection of people's traffic and customers would rightly complain".

But the BPI isn't impressed with BT's claims. They claim that the phone firm is exaggerating the implications of the government's proposals, while arguing that any company whose services can be used for illegal activities has to accept that investing in measures to stop that activity is just a cost they have to bear. BPI boss Geoff Taylor told The Mirror: "It's shameful for a company like BT to know that a high percentage of the traffic it carries is illegal material but do nothing. If you operate a commercial service and know it is being used to break the law, taking steps to ensure it is used legally is a cost of doing business".

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Lady Sovereign spent a night in the cells in the Australian city of Brisbane at the weekend after she spat at a bouncer in a club. She had apparently only been in the country a matter of hours when she was arrested on charges of assault and being drunk and disorderly. She appeared before magistrates on Saturday morning and was fined AUS$400 and ordered to pay AUS$200 compensation to the bouncer.

Discussing the incident on Twitter, Lady Sovereign said: "Brisbane police need to go catch some real criminals... what a waste. Spitting in someone's face is nasty, but how about a guy dressed up as a girl running at you in the toilets and punching you in the head?"

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Well, Marilyn Manson may have been insisting last week that he had swine flu, but he continued a tour of Canada up until its completion this weekend. You could say it was an enormous show of dedication to his fans, with the shock rocker battling on through it all to avoid causing anyone any disappointment. Or you could say he was lying about having the lurgey. His tour promoters seem to think it's the latter.

As previously reported, Manson updated his Facebook status on 21 Sep, informing fans that he had "officially been diagnosed, by a real doctor, with the swine flu", but claimed not to have contracted it by "fucking a pig".

However, the co-promoters of Manson's show at the Bell Centre in Montreal on 22 Sep followed-up the star's claims with this statement: "The Gillett Entertainment Group and Live Nation confirmed today that contrary to rumours circulating, Marilyn Manson is not suffering from swine flu".

Manson's original status update has now been removed from his Facebook page (although it still appears on his Twitter feed) and was replaced on Friday with a statement saying: "Marilyn Manson has a clean bill of health and has fully recovered".

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Cuban musicians are to be allowed to perform in the USA for the first time in six years. Singer Omara Portundo, singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés and composer Zenaida Romeu have all been supplied with visas by the US State Department to travel to and play in North America later this year.

Blocked since 2003, the possibility that Cuban performers would be permitted entry into the US arose in April when President Obama announced that he was seeking to improve relations between the two countries. Upon the news, promoters in the states immediately began working on booking shows and securing visas for numerous Cuban musicians, with these three being the first to be approved.

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Former independent record retailer and chair of the British Association Of Record Dealers, Richard Wootton, died at the weekend, seemingly rather suddenly. Wooton ran independent store Ainley's in Leicester with his wife Liz, whose father had founded the shop.

He was chair of BARD between 1995 and 1998, during which time he helped re-negotiate the way the music charts worked with the BPI, leading to the creation of the Official Charts Company.

Paying tribute, a spokesman for the Entertainment Retailer's Association, the current incarnation of BARD, told Music Week: "Richard was a great inspiration for and supporter of BARD - the former name of ERA - for many years. We would like to express the sincere condolences of everyone at ERA to Liz and the rest of Richard's family".

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All-girl trio Tru Colourz have been booted out of this year's X Factor after it was discovered that one member of the group had lied about her age and was actually too young to enter. The news came after they had been selected to go through to compete as one of the final 24 acts. They will be replaced by the equally badly named quartet Harmony Hood, but have apparently been encouraged to enter again next year when they will all be over the minimum age of sixteen.

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After reports last week that Robbie Williams might be performing with Take That at a charity event later this year, the latest news is that he's been recording in secret with his former bandmates.

As far as I can tell, the sessions at Electric Lady Studios in New York began as part of Mark Owen's stag do, so they were probably all drunk. But it seems things have gone well, as Robbie was filmed outside the studio again yesterday. Speaking to GMTV he claimed to be training as part of a five-man bob-sleigh team.

Anyway, here's what a source told The Daily Mirror: "[Robbie] is back with Take That in the studio and they're all writing together again. Robbie wouldn't be happy performing old Take That songs that he has had no part in. But if they can pen new tracks that they're all happy with, they'll record them and he will be back with them on stage".

A slightly out of the loop spokesman for Take That said: "I still have not heard word back from management about confirmation that he has been in the studio to write new material with them. I cannot confirm the story. At this point, all I know is that they are over there mixing this live album so there is every possibility that he popped in to just hear the new recording".

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La Roux's Elly Jackson has said that the duo's next album might be a development from the first. Whoopy-do. She says that having had a crack at recreating what the 80s might have sounded like, they might try out a different sound next time. May I suggest an instrumental album?

She said: "Maybe I'll go acoustic. Or dancehall. I really like dubstep too. But I'm also into songs that are long and epic. I'd like it to be a worldwide thing. It would be great to sit there at 40 and go, 'Fuck, I sold ten million records. But it's not just about money, it's about creating something that loads of people want to buy. I'm not interested in making money for a niche".

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Deadmau5 has made his new album, 'For Lack Of A Better Name', available to stream via We7 ahead of its release on 5 Oct. The producer and DJ told our sister publication, The Remix Update: "It's really where my sound is now and how it has developed from the last album, 'Random Album Title'".

Listen here:!albumId=392058&play=false

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Thom Yorke has announced the members of his new live band, with whom he'll tour to perform some of his solo work, including tracks from his debut solo album 'The Eraser', as well as new material.

The group is made up of drummer Joey Waronker (who has previously worked with Beck, REM, The Smashing Pumpkins and Elliott Smith), Forro In The Dark percussionist Mauro Refosco, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.

The band's first shows together will be two nights at the Orpheum Theatre in LA on 4-5 Oct. Here's a picture of them together to prove we're not lying (or, at least, that they have all been in the same place at the same time before):

Announcing the new band, Yorke said: "We don't really have a name and the set will not be very long because, well, we haven't got that much material yet!". However, it's pretty safe to assume he's got some ideas on a moniker:

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Dizzee Rascal and Lily Allen will co-headline a show at London's O2 Arena next year, it has been announced. Tickets for the show, which will take place on 7 Mar, will go on sale on Friday at 9am

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UK hardcore boys The Ghost Of A Thousand will head out around the UK next week as one of the bands on the Eastpak Antidote Tour (the others being Alexisonfire, Anti-Flag and Four Years Strong), and will release the second single from their latest album, 'New Hopes, New Demonstrations', on 2 Nov.

Frontman Tom Lacey said of the song, 'Knees, Toes, Teeth': "It's just a shit storming rock n roll song. It's a full on little number, big sweary chorus, big riffs, big solo, big old drums... it's the tune that AC/DC would write if they grew up listening to Converge rather than Zeppelin!"

Tour dates:

7 Oct: Cambridge, Junction
8 Oct: Norwich, UEA
9 Oct: Oxford, Academy
10 Oct: Nottingham, Rock City
11 Oct: Bristol, Anson Rooms
13 Oct: Brighton, Concorde 2
14 Oct: London, The Forum
16 Oct: Glasgow, ABC
17 Oct: Leeds, University
18 Oct: Manchester, Academy
20 Oct: Birmingham, Academy
21 Oct: Portsmouth, Pyramid Centre

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Young Republic - Balletesque (End Of The Road)
'Balletesque', folksy Tennessee-based sextet The Young Republic's sophomore release - always a difficult one - is a great big unification of contemporary pseudo-blues-and-folk influences, from the likes of The Raconteurs and The White Stripes. Their sound is, therefore, unmistakably and undeniably American. Opening with the almost Cursive-esque 'The Alchemist', 'Balletesque' infuses bluesy guitar-pop with a range of diverse instruments, from brass to Eastern-European string sounds; I'm not a huge fan of frontman Julian Saporiti's voice - it's a little abrasive, but at the same time, it's not incredibly interesting, particularly for the kind of music that the band are playing, which is, in its own right, exciting and new, despite the aforementioned influences. Regardless, 'Balletesque' is a fine album - and a worthy follow up to the relatively well-received '12 Tales From Winter City'. "Grower" albums are often dismissed before they're given a chance to, well, grow - and 'Balletesque' is unfortunately one of those albums. Give it a chance, though - because that's when it'll endear you. TW
Physical release: 12 Oct
Press contact: Incubator Creative Media [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Absolute Radio and EMI Music Publishing have formed a new partnership that will sell the talents of EMI's composers and song-writers to advertisers. The deal will see Absolute market a service to its advertising clients to enable them to create a "stronger audio identity" through the use of original music. Although said music will feature on Absolute radio ads, clients who use the service will be able to use the music across all their TV and radio advertising, should they so wish.

EMI Music Publishing UK Head Of Sales Melanie Johnson, says this: "This deal poses a great opportunity for our songwriters and composers, who will be able to use their ability to connect with listeners in order to create significant income generating opportunities for themselves."

Vince Lynch, Absolute Radio Creative Director, says this: "It's about creating a sonic identity with our clients that defines their uniqueness, which in turn helps our business sound better. We all know that listeners don't hate adverts, they hate bad adverts. With the musical know-how of EMI Music Publishing and the creative minds at Absolute Radio, we can create ads and programming that people actually want to experience in order to make for a stronger listening experience".

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New York's Frenchkiss Records has signed a new deal with German label !K7, which will see the latter release the former's priority releases outside North America. The first release under the deal with be the debut album by The Antlers, 'Hospice', in October.

!K7's CEO, Horst Weidenmueller told CMU: "We are very proud and excited to have [Frenchkiss founder] Syd Butler and his team work with us. It is our mission to make Frenchkiss and the artists on the label as popular throughout the rest of the world as they are in the States".

Butler added: "It's great for Frenchkiss to have access to such a strong international structure that !K7 can provide. With the !K7 team we feel our artists will receive the attention and push they need outside the US".

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From October, Hewlett-Packard computers will also ComeWithMusic, though this has nothing to do with Nokia's terrible all-you-can-eat download service. No, HP has its very own download offer. Not sure if it's terrible or not.

Basically, consumers buying Hewlett-Packard notebook PCs from October will receive a scratch card and PIN number which enables them to register on a dedicated website where they can download up to a 1000 tracks from Universal Music's catalogue. Presumably those tracks come with digital rights management technology embedded, cos you get to listen to them for a year, and to then choose 120 to keep.

Before you get too excited (anyone?), I think this will be restricted to HP's Asian markets. Sandy Monteiro, Universal Music Group's Asian VP of Digital, said: "We are keen to explore such deals to get consumers familiar with the new environment and using devices like computers and mobile phones to listen to music. It incentivises them to learn to enjoy music via devices other than traditional hardware".

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European officials are bothering themselves once more about the hearing of us music fans. They are moving forward with plans to make digital music player manufacturers provide more advice to users on safe volume levels when using headphones.

According to EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, Euro-types may make it compulsory for player makers to set volume limiters at 80 decibels. Users would be able to increase this, of course, but would be advised against doing so through health warnings on packaging. Some health types say that increased use of head-phone based music players are damaging the hearing of young music consumers.

Obviously this isn't really a new problem - walkmen and discmen users ran the same risks - though new technology does probably mean that players and headphones are capable of outputting ever increasing volumes of music.

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Global Radio has hired BSkyB's strategic content editor Ben Perreau to become Director Of Digital Content. He will have a group-wide role coordinating online editorial and content strategies on all of Global's radio station's websites, some of which are currently pretty awful, so he'll have his work cut out.

Perreau previously worked at IPC on Uncut and NME's websites, and later co-founded music content aggregator Gigulate. Confirming his new role, which kicks off in November, he said these words: "Global represents a rare opportunity to work with a world-class team on the nation's most successful radio brands".

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Media regulator OfCom has said that David Cameron was not in breach of any rules when he said "twat" on Absolute Radio's Christian O'Connell breakfast show. Despite twenty listeners complaining about the Tory leader's remark on the show that "too many Tweets make a twat", OfCom said the matter was not sufficiently serious to warrant any kind of regulator sanction. Which is probably a sensible ruling. Just because Cameron is a twat, he probably shouldn't be punished for saying the word.

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It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner Bros)
2. The Used - Artwork (Warner Bros)
3. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
4. Daughtry - Leave This Town (Sony/RCA)
5. Jet - Shaka Rock (EMI)
6. Black Crowes - Before The Frost...Until The Freeze (Silver Arrow)
7. Billy Talent - Billy Talent III (Warner/Atlantic)
8. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
9. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony Music)
10. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)
11. Killswitch Engage - Killswitch Engage (Warner/Roadrunner)
12. Theory Of A Deadman - Scars & Souvenirs (Warner/Roadrunner)
13. Guns N Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
14. Alexisonfire - Old Crows/Young Cardinals (Warner/Roadrunner)
15. The Mars Volta - Octahedron (Universal)
16. Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot (Edel)
17. Led Zeppelin - Mothership (Warner/Atlantic)
18. Daughtry - Daughtry (Sony/RCA)
19. Behemoth - Evanglion (Nuclear Blast)
20. U.D.O. - Dominator (AMF)*

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Robbie Williams has revealed that he originally planned to call his new album 'Il Protagonisto', but his management forced him to change it on the grounds that the name was "too pretentious". In the end, of course, he went for 'Reality Killed The Video Star', a reference to the album's producer Trevor Horn's 1979 hit with The Buggles, 'Video Killed The Radio Star'.

Williams told The Mirror: "As in spaghetti western - [il protagonisto is the] man who comes in and clears up the town for the bad guys but you're not sure whether he's the bad guy or not himself. People would quite rightly go, 'that's pretentious', which is what my management did. They went 'no that's pretentious' and I went 'yeah, yeah'. So that was a mouthful. Got rid of that. 'Reality Killed The Video Star' is in".

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Nelly Furtado has said that she was "inconsolable" when she learned that Oasis had split, which is just about one of the most stupid things I think I've ever heard.

Anyway, here's what she said: "I was inconsolable when Oasis split up. That band meant the world to me. As a sixteen year old I would write letters to Liam with my photo attached and pray that he would ask me out on a date, but he never did. At college I learned to play guitar to 'Wonderwall'. Oasis were everything I loved about pop music. They could express emotions with the most simple song structures. They had the kind of brash attitude I could completely relate to".

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