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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Amy back in shambolic style at Q awards
Metallica offer reward after fan goes missing
Boyzoners go to LA to deal with grief
In The Pop Courts
Lewis attacker "not fit for court"
Cash Money comment on Lil Wayne conviction
German indies sue YouTube
Awards & Contests
Uncut Award shortlist announced
Charts, Stats & Polls
NME to launch their own chart
Robbie goes for Xmas number one
Artist Deals
More on the Jackson estate's alleged Universal talks
Warner/Chappell to represent Bacharach in UK
In The Studio
Lightspeed Champion asks fans to record symphony
Release News
Fall Out Boy greatest hits gets UK release
Films N Shows News
Work starts on Mighty Boosh film
Gigs N Tours News
Morrissey back on stage tonight
Lady Gaga announces UK tour
La Roux announce 2010 tour dates
Festival News
Possible reunions for Glasto
Reviews
Album review: Phil Kieran - Shh (Cocoon Records)
The Music Business
Big Jon promoted at EMI Publishing
The Media Business
RadioCentre call for more relaxation of local radio rules
Blaxill gets bigger Bauer role
Plan for combined BBC/commercial online radio links machine
Kiss turn off 'now playing' feed to avoid being comparedmyradio.com
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Akon takes gig security into his own hands
N-Dubz would "bury" Blazin Squad
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TUESDAY 27TH OCTOBER


CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY
Former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley began her musical career with London punks Nightnurse at the age of 16, before joining Ash in 1997. She received high praise with the release of her debut solo album, 'Grey Will Fade', in 2004 and decided to leave Ash in 2006 to further pursue her solo career, releasing her second album, 'The Deep Blue', in 2007. This year she joined Bat For Lashes' touring band as guitarist and backing vocalist and her third album, 'New World', was released on the 19 Oct through her own label, Little Sister Records. With the album's second single, 'Alexander', out this week, we spoke to Charlotte to find out more.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I picked up the guitar when I was fourteen - giving up drum lessons so that I could be Mick Ronson. Shortly after, I started obsessing over David Bowie. I answered an ad in the NME to join a London band called Nightnurse, and that's where I started to write and play music. I'm glad I started so young as I was completely open to the melting pot that was the Britpop scene at that time. I'm afraid I often skipped school so that I could go to see bands play.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I wanted to make a record that was spontaneous, direct and honest. I didn't demo the songs. If the songs didn't work live with just guitar and drums then they didn't make the cut. Previously, I'd often recorded without limiting myself time wise, and this time I deliberately set myself a week to record it mostly live. Lyrically, I was inspired by Alex Ross's book 'The Rest Is Noise' and painters like Kandinsky and Malevich and their ideas about colour.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
On my previous records I would carry a tape recorder around with me and tape little ideas I had on tour, and then at home would demo quite extensively. But this time I developed the songs in a rehearsal room. This record was designed to be played live as I've always struggled to capture the ambition in the music before. 'New Worlds' came together very quickly. I wanted it to be spontaneous and not as layered as my previous records, and I think it sounds more exciting for it.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Generally I don't listen to other musical artists when I am writing and recording. During that process I am mostly inspired by books, films and paintings. So, musically, I'm mostly influenced by other musicians who were similarly inspired in that way, such as Kate Bush, Bowie, Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, XTC, The Beatles, Todd Rundgren and Captain Beefheart.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
See if you can spot the happy accidents

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I'm continuing to tour with Bat For Lashes in October, and then my solo touring will take over until well into 2010. This is the first record I will have released in the States, so I'm planning to spend some time there next year. I would also love to collaborate more directly with other artists such as painters and filmmakers in the future.

MORE>> www.charlottehatherley.com and www.myspace.com/charlottehatherleyofficial

 
JAGA JAZZIST - ONE ARMED BANDIT
Amazing Norwegian experimental jazz types Jaga Jazzist have announced that they will release their fourth album, 'One-Armed Bandit', the long awaited follow-up to 2005's 'What We Must', on 25 Jan. Main man Lars Hortveth has described it as "Wagner meets Fela Kuti". You can catch the band supporting Efterklang at the Barbican in London on Wednesday night, where they'll presumably play some new stuff. Or you can just cut straight to the chase and download the album's title track right now at this here link.

ninjatune.net/jagajazzist/eflyer.php
 


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AMY BACK IN SHAMBOLIC STYLE AT Q AWARDS
So, it was the Q magazine awards in London yesterday, with winners including Sonic Youth, Lily Allen, Spandau Ballet, Lady Gaga, Muse and Cat Stevens, which is quite a mixed bunch. Edwyn Collins was named a Q Legend and Marianne Faithful a Q Icon, while Frankie Goes To Hollywood picked up a prize for classic song.

The recently disbanded Oasis, although up for two of the publicly voted prizes, won neither. They lost out in Best Live Act to Arctic Monkeys, while Best Act In The World Today went to Muse. Then again, given the implication of present tense in that award name, I'm not sure Oasis should really have been eligible. Another artist who was expected to have at least one win - Florence & The Machine, up in three categories - also went home empty handed.

Most tabloid attention was focussed on Amy Winehouse, back in the public eye to co-present the Inspiration Award to The Specials. True to form, she was nowhere to be found when the award was due to be presented, having apparently got stuck in a lift, leaving her co-presenter Don Letts to dish out the award on his lonesome. He joked with the audience, "What do I do if I'm Amy?" before downing his pint in one. An achievement that left the legendary Letts admitting, "I feel sick now".

Winehouse did appear on stage as The Special's Terry Hall began his BNP-dissing acceptance speech, and followed it up by announcing to the audience: "Put your hands together for the most inspirational band of all times, The Specials".

Commenting on this year's awards bash, Q editor-in-chief Paul Rees told reporters: "Q remains proud of the fact that its awards recognising musical achievement and excellence during the past twelve months are decided by the nation's music fans, who once again have voted in their thousands. We are equally delighted to honour the enduring influence of those artists who have shaped our musical landscape and continue to do so. Collectively, I hope the awards not only highlight the unique breadth of Q's musical world but also the fact that great music remains timeless, enduring and ongoing".

Anyway, here's the full list of winners, especially for fans of full lists of winners:

Best New Act: White Lies
Breakthrough Artist: Mr Hudson
Best Video: Just Dance, Lady Gaga
The Q Idol: Spandau Ballet
The Q Inspiration Award: The Specials
Innovation In Sound: Sonic Youth
Q Classic Album: U2 - The Unforgettable Fire
Best Track: Lily Allen - The Fear
The Q Icon: Marianne Faithfull
Classic Song: Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax
Q Legend: Edwyn Collins
Best Live Act: Arctic Monkeys
Classic Songwriter: Yusuf Islam (Formerly Cat Stevens)
Outstanding Contribution: To Music Robert Plant
Best Album: Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Best Act In The World Today: Muse

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METALLICA OFFER REWARD AFTER FAN GOES MISSING
Metallica have contributed a fifty grand reward for information to assist in an FBI search for a 20 year old female student who went missing after attending one of their gigs, at the University Of Virginia earlier this month. Morgan Harrington somehow found herself outside the gig venue just before 9pm and was refused re-entry. She called her friends to say she would just go home, but never made it there. Her purse and phone were subsequently found in the venue's car park.

A message on the Metallica website reads: "We are deeply concerned about the disappearance of 20 year old Virginia Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington, who was last seen while attending our concert at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA, on Saturday night. Morgan has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5'6", 120 lbs, and was wearing a black Pantera t-shirt, black skirt, and black boots. She was not carrying ID or a cell phone. Morgan was separated from her friends shortly before 9pm at the venue".

They continue: "We encourage anyone who has any information regarding Morgan's disappearance to please come forward. Additionally, if you or anyone you know shot video footage or took photos of the concert or audience, please check to see if there is anyone in your photos who might resemble Morgan. Please contact the Virginia State Police at (434) 352-3425 or the UVA Police at (434) 352-3467 or police@virginia.edu. if you have any information. Our thoughts are with Morgan and her family for her safe return".

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BOYZONERS GO TO LA TO DEAL WITH GRIEF
Boyzone's Ronan Keating and Keith Duffy have reportedly flown to California to take a break and come to terms with the sudden death of bandmate Stephen Gately. Keating has reportedly cancelled all promotional activity that would have surrounded the 16 Nov release of his album 'Winter Songs'. The Sun says the two Boyzoners decided to get away from Dublin because there are "ghosts and memories around every corner".

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LEWIS ATTACKER "NOT FIT FOR COURT"
Peter Kowalcyzk, the man arrested after hitting Leona Lewis at a book signing earlier this month, and later sectioned under the Mental Health Act, has been deemed unfit to attend court.

He was due to face charges of assaulting the singer at the City Of Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday, but the case was adjourned until 23 Nov while he undergoes further psychiatric testing.

Kowalcyzk's lawyer, Mark Fidler, said that the results of the tests would dictate the way in which the court approached the case.

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CASH MONEY COMMENT ON LIL WAYNE CONVICTION
Bryan 'Birdman' Williams and Ronald 'Slim' Williams, the CEOs of Cash Money, Lil Wayne's record label, have commented on the rapper's previously reported conviction on weapons charges.

In a statement, the pair said: "The Cash Money family will continue to support our artist and friend Lil Wayne in his current court case. We have worked with Wayne since he was a teenager, and have seen him grow into one of the world's most successful hip hop artists, with a work ethic that is second to none. Wayne has our love and commitment during this difficult time. We always have and always will stand behind him".

As reported last week, Wayne changed his plea on charges on illegal weapons possession to guilty on Thursday. He was arrested in 2007, following a search of his tour bus when a police officer discovered a .40 calibre handgun. Wayne had always previously denied the gun charges. However, following news that the prosecution believed it had DNA evidence that could link Lil Wayne to the gun, which a judge subsequently ruled could by used in court, it seems the rapper got cold feet.

Having changed his plea to guilty, it is now expected that he will serve between eight months and a year in jail.

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GERMAN INDIES SUE YOUTUBE
In a case that might have parallels to the ongoing Viacom v YouTube case in the US, a group of German labels, publishers and artists have launched legal proceedings against the Google-owned video website accusing them of copyright infringement.

As much previously reported, while everyone knows punters frequently post copyright infringing content onto YouTube, the video site has a policy of taking said content down as soon as it is made aware of it by the copyright owner. There is, however, some debate as to whether or not that is sufficient to stop YouTube from being liable for infringement for hosting the offending content between upload and takedown. Some content owners also object to the fact that the takedown system puts the onus on them to monitor YouTube for any infringement of their content.

Those issues have only led to litigation in a handful of cases, mainly because YouTube is normally quick to enter into some sort of licensing agreement with any content owners looking litigious. Meanwhile, the video service has been honing its content recognition technology that, in theory, stopped infringing content from going live in the first place. The most high profile litigation to date is that being pursued through the US courts by MTV owners Viacom, which is ongoing.

Yesterday Hamburg-based lawyer Jens Schippmann announced he was suing YouTube on behalf of 25 German based or linked artists and labels, perhaps most notably musical type Sarah Brightman, who often collaborates with German producer Frank Peterson. According to Billboard, Schippmann's legal papers claim that there is "clear evidence" that YouTube and Google "have been distributing so-called user-generated content without any permission of the copyright holders and the master owners".

The papers add that "in addition, they have not pay any royalties since 1Apr 2009", a reference to the falling out between YouTube and German publishing collecting society GEMA, a turn of events that means artists like Brightman, whose content is appearing without permission, aren't even generating publishing royalties (though one would assume that eventually GEMA will reach a deal with Google, like their UK counterparts PRS did, and royalties for the period of the dispute would then be paid).

Of course, technically speaking, since the falling out with GEMA all 'premium music content' should have been blocked on YouTube, at the video site's demand, though these things are hard to police when fans are constantly uploading new ripped off content.

Needless to say, Google have denied liability, stressing their takedown policy and their investment in new technology to ease the content owner's workload in monitoring infringing content. A spokesman for the company in Germany told Billboard: "YouTube works closely with many thousands of copyright holders worldwide to make sure that they can manage their rights on our video platform. Our state-of-the-art Content ID tools go beyond what the law recommends by empowering rights holders to block, authorise or monetise their videos on YouTube in a way that is simple and straightforward".

But, speaking out in support of the lawsuit, the aforementioned Brightman collaborating Peterson begged to differ. He said in a statement: "It would take almost 200 working days a year [to monitor YouTube and request takedowns]. This is a grotesque perversion, which is being scrupulously propagated by YouTube. The upshot would be that we will not have any time left to produce new songs".

The claimants are asking the court to give them access to Google data to assess how often uncleared videos are watched. If this case did go to court it would be interesting, testing, as it would, service provider liability for any copyright infringement they enable, and the level of expectation, under the law, regarding takedown systems.

Though by the time this, and the Viacom case, gets to court it might all be irrelevant, given that many feel that, even if YouTube's original takedown policy is deemed inadequate by the courts, the new automated takedown system Google has developed is more than sufficient. Past damages may be due, but it's unlikely there'd be any need for change of current operations.

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UNCUT AWARD SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED
So, Q have had their awards, how about Uncut? Well, the Uncut Music Award is generally a less debauched affair, it being a Mercury Music Prize-style operation in which a panel of pundits pick what they consider to be the best album of the year. Unlike the Mercury, artists don't have to pay to enter, and acts from all over the world are considered.

Like the Mercury, they do have a shortlist though. And here it is:

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)
Bob Dylan - Together Through Life (Sony/Columbia)
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca (Domino)
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest (Warp)
Kings of Leon - Only By The Night (Sony/Columbia)
The Low Anthem - Oh My God Charlie Darwin (Bella Union)
Tinariwen - Imidiwan: Companions (Independiente)
Wilco - Wilco (Nonesuch)

Commenting on the list, Uncut Editor Allan Jones told CMU: '"If there's one thing at this stage that I think the judges can agree on it's that 2009 was another brilliant year for music, which of course just makes our job that much harder. It was difficult enough to pick eight albums from our original long-list of 25, and the task now of choosing a winner and runners-up from our short-list is going to be even more daunting. Every one of these albums would make a worthy winner of this year's Uncut Music Award and I am sure the final judging session will be full of passionate debate as the judges put forward their cases for their favourite albums. It promises to be an exciting afternoon and I look forward to hearing the views of the other judges on these exceptional records".

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NME TO LAUNCH THEIR OWN CHART
The NME invented the British music charts, of course, so we should probably let them have their own modern music countdown if they want one. Yes, the NME are launching their own chart, based on the physical and digital sales of songs (including album tracks) that appear on the NME Radio playlist, or something like that. It will be compiled by the Official Charts Company kids, and aired on NME Radio from 2 Nov.

Confirming the new chart, NME Publishing Director Paul Cheal said these very words: "NME was responsible for publishing the first ever singles chart in the UK, all the way back in 1952. It's appropriate then, as the singles market has enjoyed a massive resurgence thanks to digital downloads, that we are once again able to provide an official NME Chart. At a time when the main charts are dominated by pop acts, we hope the NME Chart will become a valuable tool not just for NME's audience but also record labels".

Meanwhile Charts Company overlord Martin Talbot told CMU: "We are delighted to be working with NME to create this brand new chart, which will provide a shop window for UK music fans' favourite alternative music. It feels apt to be working together again with this famous music brand, that created the singles chart as we know it and love it, six decades ago".

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ROBBIE GOES FOR XMAS NUMBER ONE
Not content with being beaten to the number one spot by a former 'X-Factor' winner, Robbie Williams is going head to head with the winner of this year's competition by attempting to have the Christmas number one this year.

Williams will release 'You Know Me', taken from his new album, 'Reality Killed The Video Star', on 14 Dec, with the 'X-Factor' winner's single released the following week.

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MORE ON THE JACKSON ESTATE'S ALLEGED UNIVERSAL TALKS
We already knew the estate of Michael Jackson was rumoured to be talking to Universal Music about them releasing the 70 odd unreleased Jacko tracks recorded after his contract with Sony Music ended.

According to the New York Post, executors John Branca and John McClain are in talks with both Universal and Sony about the unreleased Jackson catalogue, the latter having released that 'This Is It' track (recorded during Sony-funded sessions in the eighties) as part of the soundtrack to the Jacko documentary film, of course. Unsurprisingly, Branca and McClain are looking for a large upfront payment and higher-than-normal royalty for the new material. It's thought the executors hope to play Sony and Universal against each other to score a bigger payment.

But my favourite bit of the Post article isn't the repeated revelation of the Universal negotiations, but one of their source's quotes. They note that Universal have officially denied they are interested in the Jackson songs, but add that a Sony insider had admitted to them that the Jackson estate was in talks with one other bidder other than them. That insider wouldn't say who the other bidders were though.

The Post then explain the logic of their speculation that the other suitor is Universal, by quoting a source who says neither of the other music majors could be in negotiations with the Jackson clan because Warner Music is too weak internationally to exploit the new Jackson catalogue and "nobody talks to EMI any more". Nice.

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WARNER/CHAPPELL TO REPRESENT BACHARACH IN UK
Music publishing major Warner/Chappell has extended its administration deal with the legend that is Burt Bacharach so to cover the UK and Ireland. The songwriter's own company New Hidden Valley Music already used Warner/Chappell's rights administration services in North America, Scandinavia, Israel and Greece. The new deal also includes Italy.

Bacharach said this: "After a number of years of enjoying a close association with Warner/Chappell in several territories, I have just this year expanded it to include Italy and the United Kingdom. It means a great deal to me to continue with the Warner family and to extend my creative relationship with them to the UK".

Warner/Chappell UK MD Richard Manners added: "Everyone at Warner/Chappell UK feels deeply honoured that Burt is building on his relationship with us here. We intend to use all of our creative expertise and resource to add real value by intelligently promoting and exposing this astonishing catalogue of songs".

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LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION ASKS FANS TO RECORD SYMPHONY
Lightspeed Champion, aka Devonte Hynes, has composed what he is calling "a D-list symphony, of sorts" and is asking fans to record the various parts for him. He will post the separate parts of the score online over the coming months, building the whole thing into a complete recording, and possibly a live performance next year.

Announcing the project, Hynes said: "Throughout the year, I have flirted with various forms of classical music. Eventually, I ended up writing and completing what I feel is a D-list symphony, of sorts. An ode to my favourite composers. I know so many people out there are extremely talented, so I figured, why not give the scores away".

The first scores released are for piano, which can be downloaded here: tinyurl.com/lscpiano. Anyone wishing to get involved should email their recordings in the highest quality possible to LightspeedOrchestra@gmail.com.

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FALL OUT BOY GREATEST HITS GETS UK RELEASE
Fall Out Boy's greatest hits package, 'Believers Never Die', will be released in the UK on 16 Nov. The eighteen track album will feature a number of rarities, a DVD featuring fourteen music videos, and two brand new tracks, including new single 'Alpha Dog', which will hit stores on the same day as the album.

As previously reported, a limited number of copies of the compilation bought through the band's fan club will come with a lock of bassist Pete Wentz's hair, as lopped of live on stage recently by Blink 182's Mark Hoppus.

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WORK STARTS ON MIGHTY BOOSH FILM
No, okay, this isn't really music news, but The Mighty Boosh have always had close connections with music, staging their own festival last year, writing songs for their TV shows, and performing, on occasion, as a band. Now the duo, Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding have announced that they are expanding into the world of film.

They confirmed the news while attending the premiere of the new film by Boosh director Paul King, 'Bunny And The Bull', in which they both play small parts. Fielding also said that they were working on an album, but it's not clear if this is a soundtrack to the film or a separate project.

Barratt told the BBC: "We've been very inspired by ['Bunny And The Bull'] because we've been doing the show and touring a lot and we've finally got round to writing. We try and do, on TV, quite magical epic journeys and we thought if you're doing a film we should really do it in one room, basically just kind of a sitcom for 90 minutes. So we might do that. We might do exactly what we didn't do on TV".

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MORRISSEY BACK ON STAGE TONIGHT
Morrissey will play his concert at the Royal Albert Hall tonight, after cutting short his gig in Swindon on Saturday night after collapsing on stage. He cancelled his gig in Bournemouth last night as he recuperated after Saturday night's ill health, but a spokesman has said tonight's London show will go ahead.

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LADY GAGA ANNOUNCES UK TOUR
Lady Gaga has announced her first UK shows of 2010, which will go under the banner 'The Monster Ball', and will give fans the first chance to hear new songs taken from the forthcoming repackaged version of her debut album, 'The Fame'. The two disc release will be renamed 'The Fame Monster' and will include eight new songs, including the single, 'Bad Romance', which is out now. The album hits stores on 23 Nov. Tickets for the shows go on sale on Friday.

Tour dates:

18 Feb: Manchester, MEN Arena
24 Feb: Liverpool Arena
26 Feb: London, O2 Arena
1 Mar: Glasgow, SECC
3 Mar: Cardiff, CIA
4 Mar: Newcastle Arena
5 Mar: Birmingham, LG Arena
7 Mar: Sheffield Arena
8 Mar: Nottingham Arena

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LA ROUX ANNOUNCE 2010 TOUR DATES
As they prepare to head out on their sold out November tour, La Roux have announced their first run of 2010 dates. They'll follow on from those Lady Gaga shows, so good news for people who enjoy tedious shrieking.

Tour dates:

26 Apr: Reading, Hexagon
28 Apr: Brighton, Concert Hall
29 Apr: Cambridge, Corn Exchange
30 Apr: Bournemouth, O2 Academy
2 May: Glasgow, Academy
3 May: Sheffield, O2 Academy
4 May: Manchester, Academy
6 May: Cardiff, University
7 May: London, Brixton Academy

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POSSIBLE REUNIONS FOR GLASTO
Robert Plant has told 6Music he has been talking to Michael Eavis about playing next year's Glastonbury Festival, though it's not clear if that might mean another Led Zeppelin reunion. Plant, of course, is the Led Zepper who has prevented the band from reunited for a tour ever since their one off reformation in December 2007.

He told BBC 6music at the Q Awards: ""I've just been talking to Michael [Eavis]. There's place for me there, but I have no idea who with".

Elsewhere in possible Glasto reunions, Jarvis Cocker has said he'd like to play the festival with a reformed Pulp. Cocker told The People: "Glastonbury means an awful lot to me, I would love to play there again. We've talked about it, there we go; there'll be a band reunion".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Phil Kieran - Shh (Cocoon Records)
Cocoon is owned by technomeister Sven Vath, while Phil Kieran has been DJing techno for some time, so no prizes for guessing where this is heading. Ulsterman Kieran has notched up many 12" releases over the years, but it's the artist album that really tests producers in this domain. With 'Shh', it's debatable whether Kieran has passed the test.

After easing us in with 'Cut Copy Waste', he fires things up nicely with the moody 'Playing With Shadows' and the rough beats and angry mech sounds of 'Dirt'. It's a good start. But then he lets himself down with the grating siren samples on 'RESP', while the odd noodling of 'Bend It' is just a waste of disc space.

By far the best track on the album is 'Don't Look Far Away', which is more downtempo than much of the rest of the tracks on offer and reminds me of techno days gone by. Elsewhere, 'Never Ending Mountain' is the most accessible track, and brings things to a close well.

Overall, I don't think 'Shh' is all that great. It does sum up a lot of Kieran's influences, and a few ideas work OK. But some really don't. PV

Physical release: 26 Oct
Press contact: Get Involved [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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BIG JON PROMOTED AT EMI PUBLISHING
EMI Music Publishing has promoted Big Jon Platt to the role of President for North American Creative. He was previously President of West Coast Creative. Here ends this bit of news.

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RADIOCENTRE CALL FOR MORE RELAXATION OF LOCAL RADIO RULES
Commercial radio trade body RadioCentre has asked OfCom to give local radio stations more flexibility as to where they base their operations, basically so they can centralise even local programming to bigger regional studios. Such a move would, of course, reduce costs.

OfCom restrictions regarding how much local content a local station must air, and where that content can be produced, have been criticised by the commercial radio sector for a while now. The RadioCentre's latest ramble on the issue comes as part of its response to the government's ongoing 'Digital Britain' consultation.

Those who oppose more centralisation, both in terms of increased syndication of national programmes, and the shift of local programming to bigger regional studios, fear that such cost cutting will bring about the end of truly local radio as we know it. That said, as such measures become less about boosting local radio firm's profits, and more about stopping them going out of business altogether (or at least that's the way it seems) government and the regulator have been more willing to relax rules.

In their latest submission, the RadioCentre insist that "greater flexibility [in the rules] would enable [stations] to serve listeners better", adding: "These changes are particularly important for smaller stations, which offer a vital local service for communities but need greater freedom to re-organise their operations in order to face up to the challenges of the digital age".

As previously reported, after the publication of the government's 'Digital Britain' report earlier this year, former GMG Radio chief John Myers provided a specific report on the commercial radio sector, and urged OfCom to start assessing local radio services based on the value they offer to the local community rather than where their operations are based. Some of Myers and RadioCentre's proposals would require a change in broadcasting laws, and the trade body hope that might be achieved in the proposed Digital Economy Bill.

Commenting on it all, RadioCentre man Andew Harrison said this: "Locally relevant material is of far more interest to listeners than the importance of where the content was made. We need to be clear that we are not asking for relaxed regulation to reduce localness, far from it - in today's complex media landscape, the localness of a local radio station can only become a more important way for it to distinguish its product form its competitors. We welcome the opportunity to work together in moving as quickly as is possible to implement these deregulatory changes".

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BLAXILL GETS BIGGER BAUER ROLE
Bauer Media have promoted Ric Blaxill to the role of Head Of Music for the media giant's Big City Network, which consists of 20 local FMs including Key 103 in Manchester, Forth in Edinburgh, Metro in Newcastle and Aire in Leeds. Blaxill has most recently been Programme Director for Bauer's Q Radio, after leaving the BBC's 6Music in the wake of one of those tedious made-up phone-in flim flams.

In his new role he will oversee the music policy of Bauer's local FMs, as well as working with programme directors at each station to develop "strategic creative relationships" with record labels and pluggers.

Confirming Blaxill's new role, and moves to form stronger relationships between stations and the music business, Bauer Media radio big cheese Dee Ford said this: "As we continue our efforts to capture more audience share, it is essential that we deploy our best creative resources to the greatest possible effect. This will be invaluable as all our stations seek to grow loyal audiences and forge relationships with key industry partners".

Elsewhere in the world of Bauer Radio, Michelle Surrell has stepped down as MD for the North West, having worked for the company (and its various predecessors) for 22 years.

In an internal memo published by Radio Today, the aforementioned Ford said this: "I'd like to thank Michelle personally for all her hard work. She has been a great ambassador for the business and is passionately committed to each and every station she has worked in. Her roles as MD of Rock FM, Radio Aire, her time as MD of Big City leading to her current role as Regional MD of Bauer in the North West have all played a part in the success of Big City".

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PLAN FOR COMBINED BBC/COMMERCIAL ONLINE RADIO LINKS MACHINE
The BBC and commercial radio sector are planning on launching a joint UK Radio website which will provide links to the online simulcasts and listen again services of pretty much every radio station in the country.

Commercial radio trade body RadioCentre already offer such a service for commercial radio stations, though given different stations webcast in different ways, it's not an especially pleasant experience for the user. Whether the new service will aim to offer a more compelling user experience, or just add in the BBC stations, isn't clear.

A more compelling user experience would, of course, require investment, and it's not clear if commercial radio firms would be willing to contribute, while the BBC might not be allowed to. As it is BBC Radio bosses will need BBC Trust approval to get involved in the proposed industry-wide website, and the Trust haven't been especially keen on joint ventures between the Beeb and its commercial rivals of late.

Confirming their involvement in the new venture, RadioCentre's Andrew Harrison said: "I think it's going to be quite a breakthrough project. The sector wants it to happen and we are working in a cross-industry team. I'd hope we would have something ready to test shortly, before Christmas".

BBC radio man Tim Davie told the Independent: "I would argue that currently we are somewhat underpowered in terms of a radio offer online, and that's where radio faces a real threat as people can go to other services and get their music globally".

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KISS TURN OFF NOW PLAYING FEED TO AVOID BEING COMPAREDMYRADIO.COM
Talking of cross-industry websites for the radio sector, Bauer's Kiss 100 has stopped posting song information online in a bid to stop that previously reported beta service from rival Absolute from using the data to compare the youth station's musical output with that of its rivals.

As previously reported, Absolute's digital development team recently launched a new website called CompareMyRadio.com, which taps into online playlist information from numerous radio stations in order to compare the sort of music rival services play. The idea is that it gives music fans the chance to work out which radio stations may be playing music to their taste.

The Kiss team are concerned that the new service will misrepresent their output. Why? Well, they have a good point actually. Radio stations that tell you what is 'now playing' on their website do so by taking a feed from the computer in the studio that actually plays the music you hear on air. Which is all fine for day-time radio shows that are centrally playlisted and which take all their music from said studio computer.

But specialist show presenters, who have a free reign on what they play, normally by-pass the computer and use these weird things called CDs and records instead. That music often doesn't get displayed in the 'now playing' box on the website, and would therefore not factor into CompareMyRadio.com's analysis of the sort of music a station plays.

Which means stations who pride themselves on having great, credible, on-the-ball specialist shows in the evenings would be exclusively assessed based on their (possibly shit) daytime playlists.

Kiss chief Steve Parkinson told Radio Today: "Our concern is that this doesn't look as if it's a like-for-like comparison. From a Kiss point of view the system doesn't seem to track the full range of Kiss programming. Unlike most other radio stations much of our output is not on a computer due to our specialist mix that champions new music upfront, so doesn't seem to have captured the actual variety that we are proud of".

With all that in mind Kiss have chosen to withdraw from comparemyradio.com, though the only way they can do so is by turning off the data feed on their website that the Absolute-owned service taps into, which is a shame because it means Kiss listeners lose that service also.

Other solutions would include having specialist show presenters input their 'now playing' data manually, though given most specialist shows in commercial radio are one man (or woman) operations, that probably isn't a viable solution. That said, most specialist show presenters do publish their playlists after their show, so perhaps CompareMyRadio.com - despite being all about this clever little bit of feed amalgamation software - needs to have a human being typing in those playlists once a week to give a more accurate representation of what music stations with specialist shows actually play.

Or perhaps Kiss could just live with being misrepresented. Hey, they're a youth station, surely being misrepresented by the establishment comes with the territory?

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - www.totalrock.com. New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Paramore - Brand New Eyes (Warner/Atlantic)
2. Muse - The Resistance (Warner Bros)
3. Pearl Jam - Backspacer (Universal)
4. Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue (EMI)
5. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner Bros)
6. Megadeth - Endgame (Roadrunner)
7. AFI - Crash Love (Universal)
8. Brand New - Daisy (Interscope)
9. Lynyrd Skynyrd - God & Guns (Warner/Roadrunner)
10. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
11. Five Finger Death Punch - War Is The Answer (Spinefarm)
12. Daughtry - Leave This Town (Sony Music)
13. Billy Talent - III (Warner/Atlantic)
14. Hatebreed - Hatebreed (Warner/Roadrunner)
15. AC/DC - Black Ice (Sony Music)
16. The Used - Artwork (Warner Bros)
17. Porcupine Tree - The Incident (Warner/Roadrunner)
18. Jet - Shaka Rock (EMI)*
19. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)*
20. Journey - Revelation (Frontiers)

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AKON TAKES GIG SECURITY INTO HIS OWN HANDS
Akon decided to take crowd safety into his own hands at a gig in Melbourne this weekend, leaving the stage to break up a fight that had erupted in the audience. Of course it's not the first time Akon has taken on the role of audience disciplinarian, though the good news is that this time he didn't send anyone flying off the stage.

One gig goer told Aussie music site Undercover: "They were three songs into Akon's set when a fight broke out. He finished off the song then came over to the side of the stage. Then he went into the crowd to try and break up the fight but got pretty vicious".

Noting the various issues that have surrounded him getting a visa to perform in Australia, where some political types expressed concerns about his criminal record, Akon subsequently shouted to the crowd: "I don't know if you all know how hard it [was for] me to get here. It took me almost two years for Australia to let me back in the country and I am not going to let them fuck up our concert tonight".

Akon escorted the fighters off the premises, but they seemingly got back in and started another fight. Akon stopped the gig a second time to order the fighters be removed, though I don't think he got personally involved that time.

Anyway, I don't know why I'm spending so much time telling you this, you can watch it for yourself on this YouTube video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wjaHPAKLVo

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N-DUBZ WOULD "BURY" BLAZIN SQUAD
Not sure who it is trying to create some sort of rivalry between N-Dubz and the recently reformed Blazin Squad, but when asked about any such threat to his band by the now five-piece Squad, N-Dubz Dappy told the Guardian: "Us v Blazin Squad? WHAT? Are you mad? We'd muller them! We'll trample all over them in any way there is! You mean musically? A FISTFIGHT? What? Woo? WHAT? Us lot against them lot? Really? That's what The Guardian is asking me? We'll bury them. WE'LL BURY THEM. We'll make them look small. We're animals, we're animals. We're from the hood, innit. From the H-O-O-D. We're respectable people, we're humble. But we'll BURY THEM".

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