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TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
A load more Pirate Bay: Loads of appeals in Sweden
...None in the Netherlands
Virgin's download service may offer a large plateful of music rather than all-you-can-eat
In The Pop Courts
MacColl campaign disbands
In The Pop Hospital
Johnny Hallyday hospitalised
Charts, Stats & Polls
Most popular carol revealed
Artist Deals
Peggy Sue sign to Wichita
In The Studio
Machine Head begin work on new album
Kraftwerk not retiring
Release News
Portishead release new track for Amnesty
Fucked Up know it's Christmas
Maccabees release Roots Manuva collaboration
MJ Hibbett releases Christmas single
Gigs N Tours News
Rihanna announces UK tour
Nancy Elizabeth, James Blackshaw and Hauschka to tour
Miike Snow UK tour dates
Festival News
Iron Maiden and Rammstein to headline Sonisphere
New Butlins-based festival announced
Comedy and tunes at Altfest
Talks, Debates N Trade Fairs
MIDEM management line up
Musebox's guide to doing SxSW
Reviews
Single review: New Young Pony Club - Lost A Girl (The Numbers)
The Music Business
HMV appoint new online marketing head
The Digital Business
Midge Ure involved in latest new band site
EMI and IODA sign up to Guvera
The Media Business
Santa stream goes live on DAB
Chart Of The Day
This week's Student Radio Chart
And finally...
Wood and Ivanova split
Crouch to get dance lessons from Hammer
Advertising info
Consulting info
CMU Credits + Contacts
 
THURSDAY 10TH DECEMBER


BAD FOR LAZARUS
Forming less than a year ago, Bad For Lazarus are a four-piece band based in Brighton, delivering their own brand of garage pop. The band consists of bass player Jimmy Diego, drummer Steve Waits, guitarist Maud E Licious, and guitarist and vocalist Rich Fownes - who has also played with UNKLE and Nine Inch Nails butis best known as the former frontman of 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster. The band's wide range of influences are clearly present in their sound, taking in everything from punk and hardcore to Motown (Buddy Holly and The Beatles are also influences apparently). With their first single 'Old Rats On A New Ship' out now on Shit Chic records, we caught up with Fownes to ask the Same Six.
 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
Nirvana were the band that turned me on to wanting to write my own music. I thought having any formal tuition was 'laaaaaame maaaaaaan', so was insistent on making a-tonal clangings for about four or five years. But I wouldn't go so far as to classify it as music by any measure.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
I wanted to write something nearing hip hop, beat-wise. When writing with 80s Matchbox 'phat beats' were always instantly disqualified, so it was definitely an exercise in stretching my wings.

Q3 How do you go about creating a track?
I used to play the guitar, searching for something that looked interesting, like a classic muso arsehole. After several years, I finally learned it's about one simple hook that you should be able to hear in your head. Somewhere I heard 'production is the art of subtraction' and the more I write the more that's affirmed. As much as it's a cliché, it is true that the best songs seem to write themselves.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
For this band particularly, I try to mix the character and pop swing of artists like Buddy Holly and The Beatles with the play-like-every-gig-is-your-last ethic of characters like Cedric Bixler or GG Allen

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Gutted.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
For it to be really, REALLY good. Obviously.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/badforlazarus

 
CMU ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard - Em Are I
As we head towards the end of the year, we'll be revealing, in no particular order, our ten favourite albums of 2009. Today, Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard - 'Em Are I '.

The first of Jeffrey Lewis' five studio albums to have backing band The Junkyard's name stamped right up next to his on the album cover, the subject matter of 'Em Are I' is largely shaped by Lewis' break-up with his girlfriend and keyboard player, over several months of touring together. It wasn't the cleanest of splits, by all accounts, and Lewis paints himself (or, rather, draws - the whole episode is chronicled in a comic strip for The New York Times, 'My 2008 In A Nutshell') as a broken character, unable to concentrate on the recording.

 
All of which doesn't bode well for the finished product. And yet, here we are, talking in terms of albums of the year. Lewis' lyrics are as good as ever ("Just tell me that you like me in the same sentence as a mountainside, cos it would be such a relief to be objectified", for example), but the overshadowing gloom reduces the sometimes throwaway edge of his humour, without losing it altogether, making this album stand up far better to repeat listens than some of his earlier work.

Actually, there are only two overt break-up songs on the album, one being 'Broken Broken Broken Heart', in which Lewis blames himself for the fact that his ex is now with "a less cruel and curious man", while the other, the rolling psychedelia of 'The Upside-Down Cross', is actually penned by his brother Jack.

Not just an album of the year, this is also easily Lewis' best and most accessible work to date.

iTunes - Amazon - Spotify

 
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. This week we throw it over you some of you fine people.

Florence & The Machine - Drumming
Not the coolest answer I know but according to the 'Play Count' column on my iTunes it's apparently what I've spun the most, so there's no point in me lying, eh? It's pop brilliance. Booming drums, the lyrics about sexy dancing and her amazing voice all tie together to form a song of which, when I first heard it, I was genuinely in awe. Top, top song from a brilliant album. I know we're all tired of hearing how brilliant it is by now, but it's only because it is just indeed that.
Simon Pursehouse, Industry Liaison, Sentric Music

Tell us your favourite track of 2009 here

 

 

CLIENT RELATIONS REP
IODA, www.iodalliance.com, industry leading digital distribution company for the global independent label community, has a vacancy for a Client Relations Rep based at the London office.

As the first point of contact for our rights holders and roster of labels, the successful candidate will be the hub and advocate for information and co-ordination flowing between IODA internal departments. Providing support and assistance in educating and enabling labels to use our content management tools, coordinate release schedules, maintain and manage their catalogs and assets.

Send a CV with covering letter to uk.jobs@iodalliance.com.

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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: recruitment@mediajunction.co.uk

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Advertise your jobs here: £100 for five editions - ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

 

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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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 ashka@unicornjobs.com.

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Advertise your stuff here: £120 for five editions - ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

 

THE PIRATE BAY: LOADS OF APPEALS IN SWEDEN...
So this gets a bit confusing, I'd suggest a shot of caffeine before trying to digest what follows. Or, like me, you could eat a packet of Parma Violets.

OK, The Pirate Bay, right? Earlier this year the three men behind the rogue BitTorrent tracker and search service, along with their primary funder, were, of course, found guilty of contributory copyright infringement in the Swedish courts and were ordered to pay big bucks in damages to the content industries as well as each spend a year in the slammer.

Shortly after the ruling, the Pirate Bay's main legal man - Per E Samuelsson - announced his clients would appeal. But he also accused the judge from the first case - Tomas Norstrom - of bias, and applied to have his ruling set aside, necessitating a retrial (ie the first case would be heard again from scratch, rather than having an appeal hearing to consider Norstrom's original ruling).

But Norstom's colleagues ruled that, while the judge was a member of two pro-copyright organisations, he wasn't biased in original trial. Norstom had earlier argued he only joined said organisations so to be better informed on copyright issues ahead of the Bay trial.

So the first case stood, and we all expected the matter to move on to the appeals court. But then Samuelsson said he thought two of the three judges due to hear the case in the appeals chamber were biased too, because they both belonged to pro-copyright groups. He applied to have those judges removed from the hearing. But the chief appeal court bods disagreed with the lawyer re the claims of judicial bias.

So now the appeal hearing could go ahead, yes? No. Because Samuelsson took the matter to Sweden's Supreme Court, asking the top court to consider both the alleged bias of Norstrom in the original trial, and the alleged bias of the judges due to hear the appeal. You're keeping up, right?

Well, this week the Supreme Court ruled on whether they would consider Samuelsson's bias claims. And they said that while they were not willing to consider the bias claims against Norstrom (basically bringing to a close any efforts to have a retrial rather than an appeal hearing on the case), they would hear Samuelsson's claims regarding the two pro-copyright appeal court judges. That they would consider the bias claims in the appeal court's case but not in Norstrom's case seems a bit odd, but I'm sure they had their reasons.

Anyway, all this means that there now has to be a Supreme Court hearing about the appeal court's ability to hear the appeal of the original case without bias, before said appeal can be heard by the appellate judges. All of which means all of this is definitely going to drag someway into 2010. And if Samuelsson has his way there will probably be a lifetime of technicalities for the Swedish judiciary to consider, by which time we'll have probably all forgotten what the internet was.

The Swedish authorities have not enforced the custodial bit of the Bay Four's sentence, and presumably won't do until any appeal hearing has taken place. Meaning that, if they think there's a high chance they'll lose their appeal, it's in the Four's interest to keep all this tangled up in legal technicalities for as long as possible.

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...NONE IN THE NETHERLANDS
With all those appeals going on in Sweden, it's perhaps not surprising The Pirate Bay team have decided not to bother appealing that previously reported Dutch court ruling regarding the BitTorrent service. As previously reported, the Dutch music industry's anti-piracy body BREIN successfully sued the Bay for copyright infringement claims earlier this year.

Reps for the Bay subsequently picked holes in BREIN's claims, mainly arguing that the site's three founders didn't technically speaking own the service so shouldn't be targeted personally for any infringement the Bay enabled. However, in October another court ruling was issued ordering the Bay to remove any links to unlicensed content on its site, within the Netherlands at least. The court said it would fine the website's owners 3000 euros for every day they failed to comply. The Bay has not complied, or commented really, but BREIN said yesterday that the service had confirmed it had no plan to appeal that ruling.

Some wonder if that's because the Bay recently turned off the tracker part of its service, and perhaps folk in charge of the Bay (whoever they are these days) feel that is enough to comply with the Dutch ruling. Though Team Bay did say they were turning off their tracker because it was no longer required for BitTorrent sharing, not for copyright reasons, and anyway the search engine bit of their service, which is still live, is just as liable for infringement claims.

The boss of BREIN, Tim Kuik, says the lack of an appeal from the Bay suggest to him that, despite past protestations, the service's founders have realised they have no defence to the infringement claims. The anti-piracy body therefore see the development as a mini victory. Still, the Bay is still live and helping file-sharers all over the Netherlands, and beyond, access unlicensed content. And the men who are now racking up fines of three grand a day? Well, no one knows where they are.

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VIRGIN'S DOWNLOAD SERVICE MAY OFFER A LARGE PLATEFUL OF MUSIC RATHER THAN ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT
So, there seems to be some confusion as to the status of Virgin Media's previously reported ambitions to launch an MP3-based all-you-can-eat download service.

As previously reported, Virgin announced earlier this year plans to launch a Nokia Comes With Music-style download service, whereby people can download as many tracks as they like for a set subscription fee (monthly in Virgin's case, whereas with Nokia you get twelve months access with each new phone). The big difference between Virgin's version of the all-you-can-eat-model and Nokia's existing offer is that the former would let you download MP3s with no digital rights management, while the Nokia system locks tracks to the mobile or PC they are downloaded to.

An all-you-can-eat MP3 service would be pretty radical, but Virgin's plans were backed from the start by Universal Music, so it's not entirely unrealistic. However, it's widely known that getting the other three majors on board has proved rather tricky so far, meaning original plans for an Autumn 2009 launch had to be scrapped.

Of the three other majors, EMI has proven most amiable, insiders say, though their proposal is that the number of tracks subscribers would be able to download in any one month should be capped, which would basically mean Virgin's revolutionary new download platform would just be a rework of the existing eMusic model, who allow users to download a set number of MP3s per month in return for a set monthly fee.

Still, eMusic is still primarily an independent label-based service, and an eMusic-style offer involving new music from all four majors as well as the indies would still be very attractive. Which is very possibly EMI's argument. Plus if the cap was quite high - say 100 tracks a month - for most people that would be as good as unlimited, because realistically most users, certainly after a couple of months, will probably only download a few albums worth of music each month, something Virgin and Universal's figures for the all-you-can-eat offer presumably rely on.

Officially, Virgin say that their talks with the majors and indie label digital body Merlin are ongoing, and that they are still pursuing their original plan, to offer unlimited MP3 downloads. However, a source at Universal has told New Media Age that a capped model is much more likely to happen, and that those behind the new Virgin service are now expecting that to be the case, at launch at least.

As previously reported, Virgin's download offer would be bundled into to its internet and cable telly packages. As part of their label deals, the ISP would take on more responsibility for combating online piracy, them probably being the most supportive net firm with regards the music industry's efforts to stop file-sharing to date.

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MACCOLL CAMPAIGN DISBANDS
A group campaigning for further convictions over the death of Kirsty MacColl has disbanded after Mexican authorities announced that they had closed the case having exhausted all lines of enquiry. MacColl was killed when hit by a speedboat while on holiday in Mexico in 2000.

In a statement, Justice For Kirsty, which was launched by MacColl's mother Jean Newlove and who convinced authorities to reopen the case in 2004, said: "We are not able to bring any more pressure on the Mexicans than we have achieved already".

Boathand Cen Yam, who is said to have been driving the boat, was convicted of negligent homicide in 2003, fined £61 and ordered to pay damages to MacColl's sons, who witnessed the accident. But no charge has ever been brought against the boat's owner, Guillermo González Nova, who was also aboard with his family, despite the fact that the boat was being used illegally on a National Park lake. It is Nova the campaign was seeking to have convicted.

Continuing its statement, Justice For Kirsty said: "The committee was successful in achieving most of its aims. The Mexican government was compelled to re-open its enquiries after pressure from the campaign and the British government exposed the clumsy cover-up that followed the accident. In the unstable circumstances in Mexico in recent years, it is unlikely that any more could be achieved: the case has been re-examined very thoroughly".

Despite the closure, Newlove will continue to work to raise awareness of the campaign's key issues.

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JOHNNY HALLYDAY HOSPITALISED
French rock star Johnny Hallyday has been hospitalised in LA after contracting an infection following surgery in Paris for a slipped disc two weeks ago. In a statement, his publicist told reporters that the 66 year old musician is in a stable condition and expected to be discharged next week.

One of France's biggest selling artists, Hallyday has shifted over 100 million albums in a career which has spanned nearly half a century. He is currently part way through a worldwide farewell tour, which is due to end next year, when he will retire from live performance altogether.

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MOST POPULAR CAROL REVEALED
You can never have too many charts, can you? No. So, you'll all be pleased to know that the Official Charts Company has unveiled the first ever Official Carols Chart, with 'O Holy Night' a surprise in the top spot, ahead of 'Silent Night'. Exciting, huh?

Explains Official Charts Company MD Martin Talbot: "Carols are not generally released as singles. It has only been with the advent of the download that consumers have been able to cherry pick tracks from digital albums and reveal their favourites. The fact that 'O Holy Night' has beaten more familiar carols such as 'Silent Night' and 'Away In A Manger' is something of a surprise, although its success is driven by the fact that popular mainstream singers such as Celine Dion, Aled Jones and Katherine Jenkins have recorded new versions over recent years".

In other chart news, Band Aid 20's slightly rubbish version of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' has been named the most popular Christmas-themed single of the decade, beating The Darkness' also rather mediocre 'Merry Christmas (Don't Let The Bells End)'. The original Band Aid came in at eighteen.

Top ten carols (downloads only)

1. Oh Holy Night
2. Stille Nacht/Silent Night
3. Once In Royal David's City
4. Away In A Manger
5. In The Bleak Midwinter
6. Ding Dong Merrily On High
7. The First Nowell
8. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
9. The Holly And The Ivy
10. O Little Town Of Bethlehem

Top ten Christmas singles of the decade (digital and physical formats):

1. Band Aid 20 - Do They Know It's Christmas
2. The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)
3. The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York
4. Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You
5. Bo! Selecta - Proper Crimbo
6. Cascada - What Hurts The Most/Last Christmas
7. Wham! - Last Christmas
8. Idols - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
9. The Tweenies - I Believe In Christmas
10. S Club Juniors - Puppy Love/Sleigh Ride

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PEGGY SUE SIGN TO WICHITA
Here's some good news then. Peggy Sue, who we like a lot, have signed to Wichita, who we also like a lot. The group - Katy Klaw, Rosa Rex and Olly Olly Olly - will release their debut album, 'Fossils And Other Phantoms', through the label in April.

You can get a free download of one the songs from the album, 'Hatstand Blues', in exchange for your email address at www.peggywho.com

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MACHINE HEAD BEGIN WORK ON NEW ALBUM
After three years of touring in support of their last album, 'The Blackening', Machine Head have begun writing the follow-up, frontman Robb Flynn has revealed.

Flynn told About.com: "We're going to jump right into it. We just had three months off, which was the first big break we've had for this album. We have a month off after this before the Europe stuff. We're ready to get into it. We took those three months off and started writing a little bit at the end. I totally got the bug. 'The Blackening' cycle has been such an amazing moment for the band, and it was cool to say we're moving on from this. When we started writing it was on to bigger and better things. As much as this moment meant, it's cool to see what we can accomplish next. I'm super-excited about writing this new record".

He also said that the band will release a DVD next year, made up of footage filmed over the last four years, from writing 'The Blackening' through the recording and the epic round of touring the followed the release.

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KRAFTWERK NOT RETIRING
Kraftwerk are not planning to throw in the towel any time soon, despite their advancing years and the fact that founding member Florian Schneider left the group in 2008 to pursue a solo career.

Asked whether fans could expect new material from the group in the future, frontman Ralf Hutter told Spiegel: "Of course. Why should we stop doing what we love to do? I don't see any difference, and birthdays do not interest me. We make our career as music workers like a serialised novel".

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PORTISHEAD RELEASE NEW TRACK FOR AMNESTY
Portishead have released a brand new track today, in aid of Amnesty International. The release also coincides with International Human Rights Day, which marks the anniversary of the United Nation's Universal Declaration Of Human Rights on 10 Dec 1948.

The track, 'Chase The Tear', was premiered on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show last night and is available to buy now from www.7digital.com/portisheadamnesty. A video for the track is also online at www.amnesty.org.uk/portishead.

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FUCKED UP KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS
Fucked Up have released their much talked about cover of 'Do They Know It's Christmas', profits from which will be donated to three Canadian charities working to bring to end an epidemic of missing and murdered aboriginal women in the country.

As well as the members of Fucked Up, Yo La Tengo, GZA, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Bob Mould, Tegan & Sara, Andrew WK, TV On The Radio's Kyp Malone, comedian David Cross and Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew also appear on the track.

Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham said in a statement: "It's hard to find a balance between the song being a fun, playful holiday classic and the reason we're putting it out, to benefit organisations dealing with a deadly, serious issue".

Buy the track from iTunes here.

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MACCABEES RELEASE ROOTS MANUVA COLLABORATION
Maccabees have announced the release of a collaboration with Roots Manuva, which sees the band and the rapper rework 'No Kind Words', the original version of which appears on the band's second album 'Wall Of Arms'.

Guitarist Felix Roots apparently had Roots in mind for the track when they were originally recording it, but only thought to mention it in an interview after the album's release. Luckily for him, Roots saw the interview and got in touch.

The track, retitled 'Empty Vessels', is available on iTunes now, and will be released on 12" vinyl by Fiction Records on 1 Feb.

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MJ HIBBETT RELEASES CHRISTMAS SINGLE
Because Christmas is a time for excess, MJ Hibbett has just put out two videos for his Christmas single, 'I Got You What You Want For Christmas' on YouTube. The result is an in-depth study of what people of different genders want for Christmas in 2009. Watching them is therefore not only fun, but also scientific and clever. Probably.

Anyway, take a look right here: www.mjhibbett.net/christmas.htm

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RIHANNA ANNOUNCES UK TOUR
Rihanna has announced UK tour dates, which will see her over here in the UK next May. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 9am sharp.

Tour dates:

7 May: Birmingham LG Arena
8 May: Liverpool Echo Arena
10 May: London O2 Arena
13 May: Sheffield Arena
14 May: Nottingham Arena
16 May: MEN Arena
17 May: Newcastle Arena
19 May: Glasgow SECC

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NANCY ELIZABETH, JAMES BLACKSHAW AND HAUSCHKA TO TOUR
Folk singer Nancy Elizabeth, guitarist James Blackshaw and pianist Hauschka will tour together next May on what they've called the 'Kept Impulses' tour. The shows will be a chamber concert type of arrangement, with various solo performances and collaborations. It will be good.

Here are the tour dates:

10 May: London, The Barbican
12 May: Cambridge. The Junction
13 May: Bristol, St George's
14 May: Oxford, Holywell Music Room
15 May: Manchester, Band On The Wall
16 May: Edinburgh, The Roxy

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MIIKE SNOW UK TOUR DATES
Miike Snow will be in the UK next month, playing dates that will coincide with the release of their next single, 'Silvia', which will be released via Sony/Columbia on 25 Jan.

Tour dates:

27 Jan: London, Tabernacle
29 Jan: Oxford, Academy 2
30 Jan: Brighton, Digital
31 Jan: Bristol, Thekla
2 Feb: London, Scala
3 Feb: Manchester, Academy 3
4 Feb: Glasgow, Stereo
5 Feb: Newcastle, Other Rooms
6 Feb: Sheffield, Plug
8 Feb: Leeds, University
9 Feb: Liverpool, Masque
10 Feb: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms

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IRON MAIDEN AND RAMMSTEIN TO HEADLINE SONISPHERE
Good old Thrash Hits, they've never let us down yet. As reported yesterday, on the tip off of the aforementioned metal website, Iron Maiden and Rammstein have been announced as headliners for next year's Sonisphere festival, which will take place at Knebworth from 30 Jul to 1 Aug. Also on the bill so far are Alice Cooper, Anthrax, The Cult, Iggy & The Stooges, Mötley Crüe, Slayer. Musicians under the age of 45 to be announced later.

Announcing their appearance, Iron Maiden's frontman Bruce Dickinson told reporters: "Knebworth has been the home of so many legendary concerts going back many years it really will be a privilege to play there. We enjoy the camaraderie of playing great festivals and are very much looking forward to getting back out to do some shows next summer and, as it will be over two years since we played the UK, we will certainly be looking to deliver a memorable and spectacular night for our fans!"

Rammstein added: "The great support that we've experienced from the UK fans, especially since the release of the 'Mutter' album in 2001, has been beyond anything we expected, and now to be asked to headline at a location such as Knebworth, with its legendary status and rich history, adds another exciting chapter to this story. This will be the first time that Rammstein has appeared at a festival or played outdoors in the UK, which makes the whole event even more special for us. We are looking forward to putting on a show that no one will forget!"

Tickets are available now. More information from www.sonispherefestivals.com

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NEW BUTLINS-BASED FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED
I hate camping. I would never choose to spend my holiday in a tent unless there was the promise of a few hundred bands to keep me entertained. Even then, I don't much like it. So, I'm reasonably pleased to see a rise in the number of festivals taking over out-of-season holiday camps, a la All Tomorrow's Parties. Beds and roofs are good.

The latest such festival to be announced is Playway, set up by Live Nation, which I think is aiming to bring in a more mainstream crowd than ATP and an older crowd than The Big Reunion, and which will take place over at Butlins in Skegness from 16-18 Apr.

So far on the line-up are Calvin Harris, Noisettes, I Blame Coco (aka Sting's daughter, Coco Sumner), Mercury's big new hope for pop-rock Tiffany Page, and Chase & Status in their capacity as DJs. Should you get bored, there'll be activities, including music quizzes, clothes swapping and bingo, plus a cinema, which will show the singalong version of 'A Sound Of Music', but will then try to redeem itself by having a John Hughes-themed day as well.

Hmm. Maybe I should give camping another chance.

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COMEDY AND TUNES AT ALTFEST
This might just be my favourite of the ever-growing number of winter snow-based festivals. But then you know how much we love our comedy round here (did we mention our sister publication ThreeWeeks is the biggest reviewer at the biggest comedy festival in the world?), so that's possibly no surprise.

Two of our favourite stand-ups - Andrew Maxwell and Marcus Brigstocke - are heading up next year's edition of Altitude, a comedy and music and snow fest which takes place in Meribel in the French Alps. Other comedy names already confirmed for the fest are the very fine Colin Murphy, the legendary Steven Frost and the brilliant Craig Campbell.

Music-wise, on the bill so far are Newton Faulkner, those wonderful Cuban Brothers, another CMU fave DJ Yoda and the mighty Dub Pistol-in-chief Barry Ashworth.

It all takes place from 20-26 Mar, info here www.altitudefestival.com, press info from Get Involved.

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MIDEM MANAGEMENT LINE UP
Music-industry-get-together-and-mingle-bash MIDEM has announced the panellists for the big artist management bit of next year's event. Taking part will be Todd Interland from Twenty First Artists, Jan Sikorski from the Agency Group, Blur manger Chris Morrison, and Arctic Monkeys co-manger Ian McAndrew. From the classical side of the industry, Jeffrey D Vanderveen of Universal Music Classical Management & Productions will also take part.

MIDEM 2010 takes place from 23-27 Jan in Cannes.

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MUSEBOX'S GUIDE TO DOING SXSW
Anyone planning on playing South By Southwest next year might be interested in this, a seminar on how to get the most out of playing the uber-convention, in terms of press coverage, industry interest and general networking potential.

The workshop is being run by New York-based music marketing agency TheMuseBox, whose founder Nadine Gelineau will lead the proceedings. MTV UK's David Morgendorff is among the other industry dudes who will speak. It all takes place at The Monarch in Camden on 15 Dec at 7pm.

SxSW 2010 takes place from 17-21 Mar, just in case you're counting.

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SINGLE REVIEW: New Young Pony Club - Lost A Girl (The Numbers)
The 80s revival shows no sign of slowing down so it will be interesting to see whether it finally runs out of steam during 2010, though don't bet on it. Not least because there's an imminent New Young Pony Club album (their sophomore one, for any Americans reading), from which this is the first taster and whilst it's not exactly a radical departure in sound, it does ooze a much colder, post punkiness about it that was mostly absent from their debut album.

'Lost A Girl' sounds like it was written and recorded in about five minutes, but in a good, effortless-pop kind of way. The vocals are as brilliantly bored as you'd expect, the gothic bassline has that Peter Hook sound that all good alternative records in the early 80s had, whilst the icy Numanoid synths wafting in and out could teach La Roux a thing or two. Oh, and there's a proper chorus too, you know, like they used to have in the old days and stuff.

In summary then - good pop tune, available free and in time for Christmas. What more could you want? Download it for free from Monday at www.newyoungponyclub.com. MS

Release date: 14 Dec
Press contact: Bang On [O]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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HMV APPOINT NEW ONLINE MARKETING HEAD
The Hilly Music Vendors have recruited a former Amazon exec to head up their online marketing team. Sarah Hughes was previously Head Of DVD Buying for the etailer, but will now head up HMV's 15-strong online marketing team, reporting into the company's Marketing Director Graham Sim.

Confirming her new role, Hughes told reporters: "I learned much during my time at Amazon and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with such a talented and dedicated group of people However, the exciting opportunity presented by HMV to help further develop its online presence was one I felt I simply couldn't miss. I'm really looking forward to getting started and working with such a wonderful brand and with the great team they have there".

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MIDGE URE INVOLVED IN LATEST NEW BAND SITE
Midge Ure has been chatting about a new online music community he's spearheading which will launch in early 2010. Called Tunited, it's one of those ventures set up to provide a platform for new, grass roots and independent artists to showcase and sell their tunes. On the site will be tools for aiding music creation, advice for new artists, and a place for signed up talent to post their tracks for streaming or paid-for download. Artists will get all the revenue their songs create.

So, not an entirely original concept then really, though Ure seems confident his service can help plug that gap that is growing in the industry, whereby cash strapped record companies want bands to be a little bit more established before they invest any money in them.

Introducing the new service, Ure told reporters this week: "As soon as Napster was launched, it was clear that the industry was about to suffer. Now, ten years on, we can all see the effects: major labels don't have the money to invest in as many new acts anymore. They are taking fewer risks and as a result, new music is being crushed. There's no long-term investment in bands anymore. Gone are the days when majors can stump-up large advances and take on 20-odd bands in the hope that one will make it. And the few acts they do invest in are given their fifteen minutes of fame to prove their existence. If they don't come up with the goods, labels chuck the baby out with the bathwater. But without nurturing the fresh talent that's out there, new music won't get heard and the business will kill itself off".

So how will Tunited help? The new service's boss Matt Stanley explains: "All artists' music will be easily accessible through downloading and streaming, with all profits going to the artist. [Meanwhile,] Tunited's charts will then help A&Rs and fans to find the cream of new music".

Hmm, yes, as we say, not all that original then. But still, it will be interesting to see if Team Tunited offer anything unique or innovative in their realisation of the unsigned band plugging platform concept.

Meanwhile the people behind the service are looking for a hundred bands to be available as the site goes live next year. Given there will presumably be a little bit of industry-targeted hoo haa around the launch, if you're an unsigned band it is probably worth being on there at the launch. Ure, Stanley and friends will select the first 100 from any who upload some music at www.tunited.com before midnight Friday. So don't go saying we didn't tell you.

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EMI AND IODA SIGN UP TO GUVERA
The previously reported new ad-funded download service being developed down under, and going by the name of Guvera, has signed up EMI and indie distributor IODA. The digital firm, which hopes to launch in February, previously confirmed a deal with Universal. As previously reported, the Guvera model will see brands sponsoring genre-themed channels which provide free downloads, rather than tying ads to individual tracks.

Here are some quotes.

Claes Loberg, Guvera CEO: "I am excited to announce two new music content deals with EMI Music and IODA, helping to build anticipation for brands and consumers for the official 2010 launch. With music companies like IODA, which represent independent content owners around the world, and EMI Music, another major music label on board, Guvera will allow advertisers to offer the world's most engaging content to their target customers without disrupting them with ads, but rather creating brand experiences within channels that offer specialised content".

EMI Music Global Head Of Digital Business Development Mark Piibe: "Brands increasingly recognize how powerful our artists' music can be in creating strong, emotional connections with consumers. We believe Guvera's approach can offer a compelling experience for fans and new revenue opportunities for our artists".

IODA big cheese Kevin Arnold: "We are impressed by Guvera's unique approach to the concept of brand channels. By tailoring music to brands instead of just placing ads around music, Guvera creates a new way to meet the goals of all parties involved. Guvera's experience provides an alternative for consumers looking to legally download music. We look forward to bringing this opportunity to our clients as Guvera's first digital distributors".

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SANTA STREAM GOES LIVE ON DAB
Want a constant stream of noise apparently coming from Santa's workshop as he prepares for his big present-dishing-out night? Well, you're in luck. Radio Lapland has launched on a number of DAB radio networks around the UK, and is also streaming online, hoping to follow in the footsteps of the birdsong channel, the constant stream of birdsong that played out on the DAB network for months and was apparently quite popular.

Personally, I find the noises coming from Santa's workshop a bit disturbing, but in case you're concerned about any invasion of Team Santa's privacy here, the people behind the stream issued the following statement from the man himself: "Children across the UK will love tuning in to hear the sound of Lapland as I prepare for Christmas Day. The great thing about digital radio is that it makes a superb Christmas present for friends and family and provides a brilliant choice of radio stations all year round".

Hmm, is it just me or does it sound like Santa's getting a bit of a back hander from the people behind digital audio broadcasting there? Still, times are hard for all I guess.

You can hear the slightly creepy Santa stream at www.radiolapland.co.uk

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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. Chase and Status - End Credits (feat. Plan B)
2. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - Dance the Way I Feel
3. Black Eyed Peas - Meet Me Halfway
4. Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
5. Jason Derulo - Watcha Say
6. Mumford & Sons - Winter Winds
7. Deadmau5 - Ghosts N Stuff (feat. Rob Swire)
8. Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love
9. Florence & The Machine - You've Got The Love
10. Biffy Clyro - The Captain
11. Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets
12. Ke$ha - Tik Tok
13. Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone
14. JLS - Everybody In Love
15. Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This
16. Little Boots - Earthquake
17. Calvin Harris - Flashback
18. Jamie T - The Man's Machine
19. Shakira - She Wolf
20. La Roux - Quicksand

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WOOD AND IVANOVA SPLIT
Ronnie Wood and his girlfriend, Ekaterina Ivanova, have reportedly split. This follows Wood's was arrest last week for assaulting Ivanova in the street, which a source claims was the result of an argument over her "nagging" him to put his £3m mansion in her name as a proof of his love.

The source told The Daily Mail: "Yes, Ronnie and Ekaterina have now split. They spent the night together as they still have very strong feelings for each other. But Ronnie dumped Ekaterina shortly afterwards. They have an extremely volatile relationship - it's very stormy and sexual. One day, Ekaterina will be mocking him for his age and then they will be rowing over his family".

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CROUCH TO GET DANCE LESSONS FROM HAMMER
MC Hammer has said that he wants to teach England striker Peter Crouch some new dance moves before next summer's World Cup in South Africa. Crouch's 'robot dance' goal celebration became infamous during the 2006 World Cup, you'll probably remember. MC Hammer obviously does.

Hammer told The Sun: "We should try and work something out with Crouch. I'll teach him everything I know. Perhaps we can make it a contest - with the rest of the England team".

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