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Job ads
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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
MySpace Music launches in the UK
Net firms formally object to Digital Economy Bill clause 17
No charges likely in Jacko death investigation until new year
Obituaries
Alan Parsons collaborator dies
Awards & Contests
MPG Award noms out
BASCA award composers
Grammy noms announced
Reunions & Splits
New material "inevitable", says Pavement guitarist
Release News
Kid Cudi works with MGMT and Ratatat
Mew disown live album
Gigs N Tours News
Yeasayer announce tour dates
Henry Rollins announces spoken word tour
Ellie Goulding announces tour
Festival News
The Strokes to headline Rock Ness
Reviews
Single review: Lady Gaga - Bad Romance (Universal/Polydor)
The Digital Business
BPI launch digital guide for indie labels
The Media Business
X-Factor: Cash mountains and Vegas ambitions
Shane MacGowan to grow veg on TV
Chart Of The Day
This week's Student Radio Chart
And finally...
Harris to work with Dizzee and Chems
Mika says real Gaga is perfectly normal
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
THURSDAY 3RD DECEMBER


PHANTOM LIMB
Country/soul quintet Phantom Limb released their eponymous debut album in 2008, bringing together musical talents who had previously worked with the likes Massive Attack, Bugz In The Attic, Skin and Roni Size. With influences drawn from artists such as Gillian Welch, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles, Phantom Limb's sound is an amalgam of classic, southern soul, country blues and gospel, and boasts a unique vocalist in Yolanda Quartey whose voice recalls the likes of Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples. A special edition version of their debut album was released last month and the band are touring with Will Young throughout December. We spoke to them to find out more and ask the same six questions.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Out of necessity. We all love to hear each other playing, so we had to start a band.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
We love timeless music, we also love good musicianship and singing. We were interested in representing all aspects of our collective tastes with cohesion.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
The basics generally arise from one or two members, and then the band as a whole make it happen. It kind of produces itself. Everybody injects the right amount of taste and flare.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
We love Gillian Welch, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, The Band, The Steeldrivers, Gene Clark, The Byrds, Neil Young, Crosby, Still And Nash...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Don't fight it, don't get all het up on fashions and trends, let the music do its job. Music is the reason, not the bi-product of your hair cut or how skinny your jeans are. It's like a good meal or a conversation.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
We want to finish our second album. We are touring for the rest of the year, which we are all looking forward to. That amount of time together will afford us the opportunity to write more material. We have about eight songs at the moment and we will be looking to pick from about twenty. Then more touring. We love playing shows more that anything else.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/phantomlimbrobot
 
MARSHA MEETS...
When I'm not tiring myself out being nerdy about all things music, I like to relax by being nerdy about all things comedy. First point of call, of late, is something that bridges the gap between both worlds. The 'Marsha Meets...' podcast sees Xfm DJ (that's the music bit, I wouldn't want you to miss it) Marsha Shandur interviews one of the world's very finest stand-up comedians each week, with each giving interesting and amazing insights into their craft. So far Marsha's met Richard Herring, Brendon Burns, Kevin Eldon, Isy Sutty, Rich Fulcher, Marcus Brigstocke, Chris Addison, and Milton Jones to name but a few. This week is the perfect week to start listening, as she speaks to the excellent Jim Jeffries, who's always a great interviewee (further proof of that here). He talks violent reactions to his jokes, getting away with saying "cunt" in America, and his love of musical theatre.

www.xfm.co.uk/onair/djs/marsha-meets
 
So, for the last few weeks we've been collecting your votes for Track Of The Year 2009. They've been coming in thick and fast, so throughout December, we'll be hearing what some people have had to say about their favourites, starting this week with Team CMU.

Kissy Sell Out - Apple Jelly
If I ever have a late night talk show, and the BBC have presumably already got one penciled in for their Autumn schedule next year, I want this to be my theme tune. Delightfully bouncy, and with just the right amount of sound effects, in a pretty strong year for the pop songs, this is my very favourite. Hey ya hey ya hey.
Chris Cooke, Publisher, CMU

Tell us your favourite track of 2009 here

 

 


BUSINESS AFFAIRS ASSISTANT

Domino requires a capable person to assist in the Business Affairs department of Domino Recording and Domino Publishing Companies, based in London.

The ideal candidate will have a couple of years experience working in a busy office, be highly organised and in possession of first rate administrational skills. Your daily tasks will include tracking all agreements, issuing broadcast releases, licensing our repertoire out for compilations and looking after the label copy.

The role offers an excellent introduction into the business aspect of the music industry.

Applications: [email protected]

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PRESS OFFICER WANTED
Leading independent music PR company looking for a Press Officer with experience in both online and traditional PR. Must be passionate, enthusiastic, intelligent, and a creative thinker. Knowledge of communications: PR, marketing, and blogging would be ideal, but not essential. If you are looking for a challenge within a dynamic company, please forward a copy of your CV to: [email protected]

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Advertise your jobs here: £100 for five editions - [email protected]

 

 

26 or younger and have never attended MIDEM? Grab your reduction now!
Either studying or working in the music industry and never attended MIDEM, benefit from a special discount rate at 280 euros, more than 50% off October rate.

Networking: Seek out key contacts and extend your professional network; make deals with your partners and identify new business opportunities.

Educational content: access to the renowned MidemNet digital business conference at no extra cost; get concrete, practical knowledge and training from experts through workshops.

Live concerts: hook up with partners and new contacts at the Opening and Closing Night Parties; discover new international artists with Talent showcases.

MIDEM: the one stop destination for the world’s music community, 23-27 January 2010. Register now! Click here

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MIDEM 2010, Cannes: Intimate club venue available for hire in the Palais du Festival - to showcase your artists and bands.

4am license. UK bar prices. 400 Capacity. Private entrance. Staff and DJ supplied.

Leyline has teamed up with Splash Promotions in Cannes to offer production, event management and PR services.

Contact 020 7575 3285 [email protected] / [email protected]

www.splashpromotions.co.uk - www.leylinepromotions.com

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SHOREDITCH OFFICE, 764 SQUARE FOOT (15-20 DESKS), £1000 PER MONTH
Self-contained office space available in the centre of Shoreditch, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street, next to the CMU HQ. 5-8 minutes walk from Liverpool Street and Old Street tube stations. A top floor workspace with plenty of natural light in an exciting neighbourhood that is home to numerous music, media, PR and creative companies. 764 square feet, with room for 15-20 desks plus its own kitchen area and adjacent toilets. £1000 per month plus service charge and business rates (£275 per month and £600 per month respectively). Includes heating. Available now. For more information contact [email protected].

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Advertise your stuff here: £120 for five editions - [email protected]

 

MYSPACE MUSIC LAUNCHES IN THE UK
So, MySpace's extended music service goes live in the UK today, meaning that British users of the social networking platform will now be able to tag tracks they like on artist profile pages, organise those tracks into themed playlists, and then play all that music in a standalone window in their web browser. The launch of MySpace Music also sees the amount of songs available via the social networking site's music channel increase dramatically, and users can, if they wish, choose to play the playlists put together by their friends, or celebrities as diverse as Katie Price and The Pope.

It all sounds rather groovy, doesn't it? And I have to say, it's not as shit as you might expect, assuming you, like me, except any MySpace product to be pretty damn shit. That said, it all operates within the existing always wobbly, never intuitive MySpace platform, which, if you're like me, pisses you off the minute it loads on your screen. Plus I created a playlist for myself - which was, admittedly, a nice easy process - but now I can't find that playlist anywhere. And when I logged in at 6am this morning none of the video guides were working, and if you've ever tried contacting MySpace support you'll know that... actually, no one here has ever tried to contact MySpace support, because if you had you'd have committed suicide.

Now, let's be fair - it's possible I'm being uber-dumb in not being able to find my playlist. It's unfair to complain that the how-to videos are down in the first few hours of the service being live. And perhaps MySpace have done something about their tech support service (it's been a few months since I last bravely attempted to use it). But the point is that within 90 seconds of opening Spotify for the first time I was happily playing the 'Ben Folds Live' album - it didn't matter I was dumb, I didn't need a video guide and I never thought about emailing tech support.

Which makes the launch of MySpace Music here in the UK particularly interesting. Unlike in the US and Australia, where MySpace Music currently operates, the free-to-use on-demand playlist-able streaming music market is more crowded, and all new entrants have to compete with the much loved Spotify, the Apple of streaming music.

MySpace does, of course, have a very high brand profile, a big existing user-base, and the majority of music acts using its artist profile platform. However, that brand profile is arguably a negative one, many of those users only reluctantly use the social networking service when they really have to, and an increasing number of artists are now connecting with fans primarily through Facebook or Twitter. Meanwhile, Spotify is widely appreciated, despite the irritating ads, and if those stats issued this week are to be believed, they have three million users in the UK, which is pretty good market penetration.

Basically, for every point going in MySpace's favour, there's two points against, which means the expanded music service really needs to be something special to compete alongside something as popular and user-friendly as Spotify. I'm not convinced the service as it currently stands is that special. It certainly lacks that "wow" moment that occurs the first time your crank up Spotify and realise just how much music is lined up ready to play, all there at the click of a button.

As for business models, well, who knows who's doing it right? There is so much secrecy around the licensing arrangements between the Spotifys and MySpaces of this world, and the record companies and collecting societies, it's hard to know if and how these streaming services can and will add up, especially if they are primarily relying on ad revenues.

Perhaps MySpace Music has the advantage here. Parent company News Corp have big pockets and much ad-sales expertise, and that money and expertise can make up for MySpace's love deficit. Though Spotify do seem to be turning their love supply into both money (ie venture capital) and expertise (ie some smart appointments).

But whatever, let's give MySpace Music its moment of glory anyway shall we?

MySpace do now have pretty much every music rights owner on board, having done that previously reported deal with indie label rights body Merlin, as well as having all four major record companies as shareholders, and deals in place with most other indie digital aggregators, including The Orchard, IODA, INgrooves and IRIS Distribution. They also confirmed yesterday a deal with PRS For Music, ensuring the publishing rights are covered.

And, of course, MySpace Music is arguably more friendly towards labels and artists who can integrate the new service with their existing artist profiles. Plus the media platform component of MySpace - rubbish as it may be - provides the opportunity for labels to run promotions around new releases and tours.

All of which earns them a quote in the CMU Daily. MySpace Music chief Courtney Holt says this: "We're excited to be launching MySpace Music in the UK, a genuinely innovative service that brings artists and fans closer than ever before. MySpace has always had an unrivalled reputation for encouraging the enjoyment, discovery and sharing of music, and this launch concentrates and expands on that distinctive character. The way people are consuming music has changed dramatically, and we're aiming to develop a next-generation platform that builds a sustainable business for MySpace Music, content licensors and artists, while serving fans in a completely unique way".

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NET FIRMS FORMALLY OBJECT TO DIGITAL ECONOMY BILL CLAUSE 17
A string of internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and eBay, have signed an open letter to that Peter Mandelson blokey urging him to drop some of the clauses in his Digital Economy Bill, in particular that previously reported controversial clause that basically gives the Secretary Of State responsible for intellectual property the power to introduce new copyright rules on a whim.

While provisions for a three-strikes style system that could ultimately lead to persistent file-sharers having their net connections suspended dominated opposition to the Bill before its publication last month, a number of commentators focused on the 'change on whim' clause - clause 17 - once the proposed legislation had been released.

Presumably Mandy et al would argue that digital technologies develop so fast these days that it is impossible for copyright law to keep up, and that ministers need the flexibility to respond to new kinds of piracy without drawn out court cases or changes in legislation. But many fear the proposed powers would enable the powerful content and media companies to pressure ministers into introducing more draconian copyright rules without said rules being up for parliamentary debate.

In the open letter, the net firms say that they "share respect" for copyright and support some parts of the Bill that deal with intellectual property issues, but add that they have "grave concerns" over some of the proposals "which risk stifling innovation and damaging the government's vision for a digital Britain".

The letter continues: "In particular, we believe the bill's clause 17 - which gives any future secretary of state unprecedented and sweeping powers to amend the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 - opens the way for arbitrary measures. This power could be used, for example, to introduce additional technical measures or increase monitoring of user data even where no illegal practice has taken place".

It concludes: "This clause is so wide that it could put at risk legitimate consumer use of current technology as well as future developments ... The industry as a whole had hoped that the outcome of [the government's] Digital Britain [report] would be a clear, workable set of principles by which the industry could operate. On the contrary, clause 17 creates uncertainty for consumers and businesses and puts at risk the UK's leading position in a digital Europe. We urge you to remove clause 17 from the bill".

Mandelson's office say that any powers given to a minister with regards copyright rules would be exercised responsibility, and in consultation with all key stakeholders. Whether those words will placate those who object to the 'change on whim' provision I'm not sure. Probably not.

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NO CHARGES LIKELY IN JACKO DEATH INVESTIGATION UNTIL NEW YEAR
Police investigating the death of Michael Jackson say no one will be charged with anything before the end of the year, with some sources telling the LA Times that making a decision as to whether to file criminal charges at all is "months rather than weeks away".

As much previously reported, Jackson's personal doctor Conrad Murray has been accused of negligence in administering the dangerous drug propofol to the singer to help him sleep. It was that drug that seemingly killed him. Others may have broken laws in providing Jackson or Murray with the drug.

The LAPD's long drawn out investigation into Jacko's demise is still ongoing. Sources say that the medical data relating to the singer's death is complex, and that experts have had to be drafted in to help. Those experts still have work to do.

Murray, of course, insists he acted competently in the administering of drugs to Jackson prior to his death, even though that last dose of propofol proved lethal. He's also reportedly told investigators he was trying to wean the singer off the drug, to which he was addicted.

Either way, it's likely to be a while before the LA District Attorney decides whether to prosecute anyone in relation to the singer's death.

Meanwhile, Eminem, who has fought with his own prescription drug addictions in recent years of course, has said Jacko's dependencies sound similar to those he battled with. Shady says that it is all too easy to get addicted to dangerous medications when you're rich and famous enough that doctors will provide whatever drugs you demand.

Starting by observing that "it's hard to decipher what the fuck is true" with regards Jacko, he adds: "There's the story of how he woke up at whatever time and he needed something to go back to sleep because he has this or that and it didn't work - that's exactly what used to happen to me. I could just say, 'Yo, I need this and this and this', and they're going to give me whatever I want".

Some have speculated that the LAPD's investigation into Jackson's death has unearthed a network of medics and pharmacists who feed millionaire celebrities' prescription drug addictions for a handsome fee, some operating within the law, others pushing their luck.

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ALAN PARSONS COLLABORATOR DIES
The co-writer of ten Alan Parsons Project albums, Eric Woolfson, has died, aged 64.

Woolfson's first break in the music business came at the age of 18 when he was signed up as a session musician by the legendary producer Andrew Loog Oldham. Through that opportunity he began songwriting, penning music for the likes of Marianne Faithfull, Peter Noone and Marmalade.

He teamed up with Alan Parsons to form the aforementioned Project in 1975, and co-wrote numerous songs with Parsons, including hits 'Eye In The Sky' and 'Don't Answer Me'. He also played keyboards on the group's albums.

As well as this, spent some time as an artist manager in the seventies, managing Carl Douglas, he of 'Kung Fu Fighting' fame. In more recent years Woolfson turned his hand to musical theatre, writing a musical about Sigmund Freud, which premiered in 1990.

Confirming his death, a statement was posted on the songwriter's Facebook page earlier this week, which read: "We are very sad to have to tell you that Eric Woolfson passed away in the early hours of this morning after a long and brave battle with cancer. He very much enjoyed seeing all your kind comments and posts on this Facebook page and his family wanted to thank you for your appreciation of his work".

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MPG AWARD NOMS OUT
Quite possibly CMU's favourite awards bash, the Music Producers Guild Awards announced the nominations for their 2010 event yesterday. Launched earlier this year, these celebrate the great and the good in the world of music production.

As previously reported, the late great Les Paul will be awarded the The Joe Meek Award for Innovation In Production in recognition of all the studio-style wizardry he pioneered, in addition to his better known achievements in the world of the electric guitar.

The shortlists for the other gongs are as follows...

Producer of the Year, sponsored by the BRITS: Jim Abbiss, Paul Epworth, Ethan Johns, Steve Lillywhite.

Recording Engineer of the Year, sponsored by Prism Sound: Haydn Bendall, Mick Glossop, Tony Platt.

Best Mix Engineer, sponsored by Avid: Flood (Mark Ellis), Mark 'Spike' Stent, Cenzo Townsend.

Best Mastering Engineer, sponsored by SADiE: Tony Cousins, Ray Staff, Tim Young.

Best Live album, sponsored by Shure: Buena Vista Social Club -At Carnegie Hall, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood - Live at Madison Square Garden, Van Morrison Astral Weeks - Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

UK Album of the Year 2009: Dizzee Rascal - Toungue N'Cheek, Florence & The Machine - Lungs, Muse - The Resistance.

UK Single of the Year 2009: Bat For Lashes - Daniel, Florence & The Machine - Rabbit Heart, Muse - Uprising.

Best Remixer: Simian Mobile Disco (James Ford & Jas Shaw), SixToes, Skream (Oliver Jones), The Go! Team.

Best Breakthrough Producer, sponsored by Deep Recording Studios: Carl Bown, James Boshoff, Paul Savage.

Best Breakthrough Engineer, sponsored by TL Audio: Mark Rankin, Jimmy Robertson, Paul Savage.

Best Studio, sponsored by Robertson Taylor: AIR Lyndhurst, British Grove Studios, Kore Studio, Livingston Studios.

Best International Producer of the Year, sponsored by Focusrite: T-Bone Burnett, Brendan O'Brien, Rick Rubin.

The awards take place in London on 11 Feb. More info from www.mpgawards.co.uk

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BASCA AWARD COMPOSERS
The British Association For Songwriters, Composers And Authors' annual British Composer Awards ceremony took place at The Law Society in London earlier this week.

As ever, the awards had a mainly classical slant, although this year a new award for Best Contemporary Jazz Composition was introduced and went to Jason Yarde for his piece commissioned for the BBC Proms, 'Rhythm And Other Fascinations'. Meanwhile electronic artist Mira Calix won the award for Best Community Or Educational Project.

Here's the full list of winners:

Best Contemporary Jazz Composition: Jason Yarde - Rhythm And Other Fascinations

Best Vocal Composition: John Casken - The Dream Of The Rood

Best Instrumental Solo or Duo Composition: Thomas Simaku - Soliloquy V, Flauto Acerbo

Best Liturgical Composition: John Tavener - Ex Maria Virgine

Best Community or Educational Project: Mira Calix - My Secret Heart

Best Chamber Composition: Alexander Goehr - Since Brass, Nor Stone...

Best Sonic Art Composition: Mark Peter Wright - A Quiet Reverie

Best International Composition: John Adams - Doctor Atomic

Best Orchestral Composition: Simon Holt - A Table Of Noises

Best Stage Works: Graham Fitkin - Reel

Making Music Award: Elizabeth Winters - The Serious Side Of Madness

Best Wind Band or Brass Band Composition: Adam Gorb - Farewell

Best Choral Composition: Gabriel Jackson - The Spacious Firmament

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GRAMMY NOMS ANNOUNCED
The noms for next year's Grammy Awards, or The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, to give them their full title, are out. Coming out top is Beyonce, who picks up no less than ten noms amongst the 109 categories (for once we're not exaggerating, there are 109 categories). Taylor Swift, meanwhile, got eight, and the Black Eyed Peas, Maxwell, and Kanye West each earned six nods. Beyonce comes out looking additionally good because she's up for Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year (which awards singles) and Song Of The Year (which awards songwriters).

For the second year, the noms were announced during a live one-hour show, broadcast on CBS, which also featured performances from The Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta, Maxwell, and Jonas Brother Nick with his new band, The Administration.

Shortlists for the four awards anyone cares about are provided below, for the rest, look here.

Album Of The Year:
Beyonce - I Am... Sasha Fierce
Black Eyed Peas - The END
Lady Gaga - The Fame
Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King
Taylor Swift - Fearless

Record Of The Year:
Beyonce - Halo
Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling
Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody
Lady Gaga - Poker Face
Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me

Song Of The Year:
Lady Gaga & RedOne - Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
Hod David & Musze - Pretty Wings (Maxwell)
Thaddis Harrell, Beyonce Knowles, Terius Nash & Christopher Stewart - Single Ladies (Beyonce)
Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill & Nathan Followill - Use Somebody (Kings Of Leon)
Liz Rose & Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me (Taylor Swift)

Best New Artist:
Zac Brown Band
Keri Hilson
MGMT
Silversun Pickups
The Ting Tings

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NEW MATERIAL "INEVITABLE", SAYS PAVEMENT GUITARIST
Up until now, the official line on the Pavement reunion has been that they're getting back together for one tour and then that'll be that. But now the band's guitarist, Scott 'Spiral Stairs' Kannberg says that, if things go well, fans could expect some new songs, as well.

Speaking to Australian newspaper, The Age, he said: "If it's enjoyable for us, I think it is inevitable that we'll make some more music. I hope so because I think it will be fun. If I was a fan of the band, I'd want to hear some new music, but we're just going to see how it goes. We're taking it one step at a time".

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KID CUDI WORKS WITH MGMT AND RATATAT
Currently touring the US with Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi has announced that he will release a new single, 'The Pursuit Of Happiness', on 25 Jan. The track features vocals from MGMT and was produced by Ratatat.

Cudi has promised to keep the collaborations coming on his second album, which he is currently working on in between tour dates and filming his first TV show, 'How To Make It In New York', which will air on HBO next year.

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MEW DISOWN LIVE ALBUM
Mew have disowned that previously reported live album, recorded at the Hollywood Palladium in September, which will be released via iTunes on 7 Dec, saying that they have not been involved with the release at all.

In a message posted to their MySpace page, the band said: "We in the band had not planned on releasing any live material for sale, although we may well do this at a later point. As you know we are very particular about our releases (which is partly why we take so damn long making the albums!) and this too is the case with any live releases we might put out. When we do put out live recordings, we want to make certain it's recorded right, mixed right, that it's our own show and not a support slot, basically that everything is done the Mew way and upholds our high standards. This particular recording we have not been involved with".

Now, according to Pitchfork, Columbia have scrapped the album altogether, though no official statement from the band or the label on that matter has yet been forthcoming.

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YEASAYER ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES
Yeasayer have announced UK and Ireland tour tour dates to coincide with the release of their flippin brilliant second album, 'Oddblood', on 8 Feb. They also release the first single from said album (which, it's worth saying again, is flippin brilliant), 'Ambling Alp', on 5 Jan.

Tour dates:

16 Feb: Birmingham, Academy 2
17 Feb: Glasgow, King Tuts
19 Feb: Dublin, Academy
20 Feb: Belfast, Speakeasy
21 Feb: Manchester, Academy 3
22 Feb: Leeds, The Faversham
23 Feb: London, Heaven
25 Feb: Bristol, Thekla
26 Feb: Brighton, Audio

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HENRY ROLLINS ANNOUNCES SPOKEN WORD TOUR
Punk legend Henry Rollins will be heading to the UK and Ireland in January to stand on stage and rant at length. Hooray!

Tour dates:

12 Jan: Dublin, Vicar Street
13 Jan: Glasgow, Academy
14 Jan: Leicester, De Montfort Hall
15 Jan: London, Royal Festival hall
16 Jan: Manchester, Lowry
17 Jan: Leamington Spa, Assembly
18 Jan: Norwich, UEA
19 Jan: Bournemouth, Opera House
20 Jan: Liverpool, Academy
21 Jan: Newcastle, Academy
22 Jan: Leeds, Academy
23 Jan: Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall

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ELLIE GOULDING ANNOUNCES TOUR
Sing-y girl Ellie Goulding has announced tour dates for next year, which will follow the release of her second single, 'Starry Eyed', on 22 Feb and her as-yet-not-had-a-title-publicly-announced debut album on 1 Mar.

Tour dates:

25 Mar: Bristol, Thekla
26 Mar: Oxford, Academy 2
27 Mar: Birmingham, Academy 2
29 Mar: Liverpool, Academy 2
30 Mar: Manchester, Club Academy
31 Mar: Sheffield, Academy 2
1 Apr: Leeds, Cockpit
6 Apr: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
7 Apr: Newcastle, The Other Rooms
8 Apr: Glasgow, King Tuts
10 Apr: Lancaster, Library
11 Apr: York, Fibbers
12 Apr: Southend, Chinnerys
13 Apr: Norwich, Waterfront
15 Apr: London, Heaven
16 Apr: Brighton, Digital
17 Apr: Cardiff, Barfly

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THE STROKES TO HEADLINE ROCK NESS
The Strokes have been confirmed as headliners of next year's Rock Ness festival, which means they are already down to headline two of next year's big festies, having also been announced for the Isle Of Wight Festival bill.

Also confirmed for Rock Ness 2010, which takes place next to Loch Ness on 11-13 Jun, are Friendly Fires, 2manydjs, Soulwax, Rob Da Bank and Annie Mac.

Look, here's what Festival Director Jim King says: "We're definitely going to have our best ever line-up this year with some of the strongest new acts to be announced over the coming months. We're also targeting acts that have been hugely influential over the last decade and none come bigger than The Strokes".

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SINGLE REVIEW: Lady Gaga - Bad Romance (Universal/Polydor)
Let's get this out of the way first, shall we? Lady Gaga - you either love her or hate her - but generally, she is a big pain in the ass. I don't know. Maybe it's jealousy because she's doing the pop thing right, or maybe it's genuine annoyance down to the fact that she is clearly a bit mental.

Nevertheless, she has tons of fans all over the world, and that's either because the industry's in the shitter or she actually has something relevant to say about where pop should be right now. 'Bad Romance' is classic Gaga, though - big stomping synths, an autotuned voice and some lyrics about how great it is to crave an abusive relationship (PS - Stephenie Meyer, take note). Hmmm. TW

Physical release: 23 Nov
Press contact: Polydor IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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BPI LAUNCH DIGITAL GUIDE FOR INDIE LABELS
Record label trade body the BPI has launched a guide to digital distribution for indie labels. The guide aims to demystify the digital music industry, and advises smaller labels on how to make sure their music is available via all key online and mobile download and streaming music services, and offers advice on what deals are available from the digital music providers, distributors and aggregators.

Announcing the launch of the new guide, BPI chief man Geoff Taylor told CMU: "The BPI's guide to digital distribution is an extremely useful resource that will enable indies to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the UK's burgeoning digital market. By offering digital distribution, indies can connect artists with a wider fan base and will musicians reap fair rewards for the material they create".

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X-FACTOR: CASH MOUNTAINS AND VEGAS AMBITIONS
'X-Factor' is set to earn ITV over £100 million in ad revenue this year, thanks to all you nutters that got caught up in the whole Jedward farce. Still, ITV seriously need the cash, and I've no desire to see the commercial broadcaster die, so well done all you nutters.

It's thought that 'X-Factor' chief Simon Cowell will get about £7 million from the show. Insiders say that Cowell earns a six-figure-an-hour fee for appearing on the show, which is one of the reasons he pushed for the creation of a Sunday night edition of the programme this year, increasing the hours he's on screen. Those fees should amass £5 million overall. On top of that Cowell receives a personal format and production fee via his company SyCo, which The Guardian reckons will top £2 million. Nice work if you can get it.

And that doesn't include any of the monies made by SyCo through the release of any records made by finalists on the show. While as many 'X-Factor' winners fail as succeed, the Leona Lewises of this world ensure the recording business that spins off from the ITV show is quite an earner overall. And if you add Susan Boyle into the mix - even though she's the result of the 'X-Factor' sister show 'Britain's Got Questionable Talent' - then it's cash time central.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of the first venture crafted by the new entertainment conglom being developed by Cowell and his best buddy, retail millionaire Philip Green. Plans are afoot to open an 'X-Factor' factory in Vegas which would offer a live experience based around the show, as well as generating year-round 'X-Factor' content which would be pumped out online. Something akin to your worst ever nightmare vision of the future, though less tuneful.

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SHANE MACGOWAN TO GROW VEG ON TV
Okay, that headline might not be strictly accurate, because from the sounds of it Shane MacGowan does very little of the actual work in 'Victoria And Shane Grow Their Own', a new show fronted by him and his partner Victoria Mary Clark, which will begin airing on Irish TV channel RTÉ One next week.

According to the blurb for the show, Victoria hopes that she and Shane can grow enough vegetables to make a living and throw a party for their friends. Shane leaves her to do most of the work, but does offer gardening tips half remembered from his childhood farming experience, in between preparing for a Pogues tour and various other distractions.

If that sounds up your street (and why the hell wouldn't it?) and you have the ability to tune in to RTÉ One, do so on 8 Dec at 10.15pm.

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THIS WEEK'S STUDENT RADIO CHART
The songs most rated by student radio stations around the UK. The Student Radio Chart is compiled by the Student Radio Association and aired on student stations across the country, hosted by a different affiliated station each week. More at www.studentradio.org.uk/chart

1. Jason Derulo - Whatcha Say
2. Black Eyed Peas - Meet Me Halfway
3. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - Dance the Way I Feel
4. Chase and Status - End Credits
5. Cheryl Cole - Fight for this Love
6. Jamie T - The Mans Machine
7. Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
8. Biffy Clyro - The Captain
9. Little Boots - Earthquake
10. Shakira - She Wolf
11. Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
12. Florence and the Machine - You've Got The Love
13. Deadmau5 - Ghosts and Stuff
14. Ellie Goulding - Under the Sheets
15. Kaskade vs Deadmau5 - Move for Me
16. Westlife - What About Now
17. The Saturdays - Forever is Over
18. So Solid Crew - Since You Went Away
19. Lily Allen - Who'd Have Known
20. The Cribs - We Share the Same Skies

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HARRIS TO WORK WITH DIZZEE AND CHEMS
Rolf Harris apparently is set to work with Dizzee Rascal and The Chemical Brothers, if they ever find the time.

Speaking to The Croydon Gazette, Harris said: "I had Dizzee Rascal saying he would love to work with me doing all my weird sound effects and The Chemical Brothers have agreed to collaborate with me on some songs, but we've never got the time to do it. The nice thing is about working with new bands is that it keeps you feeling young".

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MIKA SAYS REAL GAGA IS PERFECTLY NORMAL
Mika has said that Lady Gaga is nothing but a character, and the woman who created her, Stefani Germanotta, is far from the big bag of weird she appears to be.

Mika told The Sun: "She is her own creation. A weird, bizarre, but very successful creation. No one cared about her before. She's created a career for herself. When she's out she's Lady Gaga, but behind closed doors she is Stefani. She is completely different personality-wise, though, when we're alone - nothing crazy like people think she is, very normal, very sweet and extremely intelligent. She is very, very focused, bright and funny. She doesn't take herself too seriously".

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