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CMU Info
Top Stories
HMV'S MAMA offer now unconditional
In The Pop Courts
Unruly AC/DC and Metallica fans arrested
In The Pop Hospital
Etta James battling Alzheimer's
OMC frontman dies
Awards & Contests
The xx win Xfm New Music Award
Release News
Cowell's Haiti single premieres
Broken Social Scene announce new album
Free French Horn Rebellion EP
Gigs & Tours News
Boy George not singing with Lady Gaga
Hot Chip album launch gig tonight
Festival News
Initial line up announced for The Great Escape
Download bans flags
Album review: Various Artists - 20 Years. Remixed (Strictly Rhythm)
Brands & Stuff
Fightstar and Bizzle collaborate for new Jagermeister site
The Music Business
ERA launch indie record store website and vote
Napster to relaunch as Best Buy arrives in the UK
The Media Business
Radio industry might adopt motor industry scrapping system to turn us digital
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Taylor Swift not playing village primary school

Starting out in 1991, CMU favourites Far are an indie-rock band from Sacramento, California. After releasing two albums on their own label, Our Own Records, the band signed to Sony/Epic/Immortal and released the album 'Tin Cans With Strings To You' in 1996, which was followed by their most popular album to date, 'Water & Solutions', in 1998. After disbanding in 1999, the members went on to work on a number of other projects before reuniting in 2008. The band release a cover of Ginuwine's R&B hit 'Pony' this week via Bright Antenna Records. We caught up with frontman Jonah Matranga to ask the Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Just messing around in the basement with grade school buddies. I never had this vision of doing it for my career, just starting loving it and never stopped.

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
Really that same feeling. Just having an idea that puts a smile on my face, and then wakes me up at night, making that idea real. Far was getting some shows together under a fake band name (Hot Little Pony), so we recorded that cover as the song for our fake band's MySpace jukebox. I still don't really think of it as a Far song. I love it, but the rest of the record [forthcoming album 'At Night We Live', on which the cover will appear] is the real shit. We all just laughed at the thought of us covering this dirty R&B song, so we did it. And there you go.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating an original track?
It is literally never the same. Sometimes a melody sits in my head forever, sometimes a riff keeps echoing through, sometimes a conversation lights me up. It's more like finding a strange new animal and following it around, learning about it. When I've learned about it, the song is done.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Anyone that takes chances. Anyone not afraid to fall on their face reaching for something great. Zeppelin, Prince, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Lennon, PE, Miles, Bowie, Bjork, Metallica, President Obama, Steve Jobs... So many people doing so many great things. I could go on.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Be willing to be surprised. Leave preconceptions out of it. Just listen and be open to whatever you feel.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single, and for the future?
Somebody smarter than me said: "Ambition is the last refuge of the failure". I agree. I'm just up for whatever's next. I love this record, and that's all I need to know as an artist.

MORE>> www.thebandfar.com

Forming when New York singer-songwriter Elizabeth Harper hooked up with producer Mark Richardson, following his remix of one of her solo singles, Class Actress was completed when another producer, Scott Rosenthal, also joined. They now have an album prepped, which will be pr eceded by an EP, 'Journal Of Ardency', released via Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor's record label, Terrible Records, on 9 Feb.

Fans of industrial synth-pop's first iterations - Depeche Mode, Soft Cell et al - will approve of the skittering synthetic snares and Harper's siren-like vocals, particularly on the excellent 'All The Saints' and 'Careful What You Say'. If you're demanding further exploration, also listen to Elizabeth's solo work, including the pretty much perfect 'Rock Like A Baby'.


UnLimited Creative is the creative services agency owned by CMU publishers UnLimited Media. We work with music and media companies, consumer brands, and other marketing and PR agencies, providing these services:

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To read about past projects click here. To discuss how we can help your company or project, email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
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Royal Opera House to create jobs for young unemployed
Lee Mead to join 'Wicked' later this year
Hairspray to close
New website sets out best practice for media relations
PRCA joins legal action against NLA link licence
Radio 1 to air midweek chart
Merton criticises film festival for allegedly dropping him
Zellweger to judge at Berlin Film Festival
Tim Burton to lead Cannes jury

HMV's acquisition of 360 degree music company the MAMA Group is on proper like, following the news that the retailer has secured acceptances of its offer to buy the firm from MAMA shareholders representing 56.4% of the company.

You might not think that is all that significant, but if you did think that, then you'd be a fool. A big silly fool. Because that landmark means that HMV's offer to buy MAMA is now unconditional. A condition of the original offer made in December was that there was a commitment to sell from enough existing shareholders to ensure HMV at least 50% of MAMA's stock.

The rest of MAMA's shareholders have until Thursday to confirm whether they intend to sell, though everyone seems to think that once an offer becomes unconditional completion is pretty much assured.

HMV CEO Simon Fox told reporters yesterday: "I am delighted that our offer for MAMA Group has been successful, and to welcome our new colleagues from MAMA to HMV. The acquisition represents a further significant step for HMV as we continue the transformation of our business begun in 2007. Building on the successful platform created by the formation of our joint venture with MAMA just over a year ago, we will be embarking on exciting new growth plans for the group in live music and ticketing".

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It was quite a week for gigs getting out of hand last week. At last count, two went a bit haywire. Which is loads.

An AC/DC gig at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand ended in chaos on Saturday night after a load of fans got drunk and started messing about. In total, 50 fans were arrested for being drunk and disorderly, while six ambulances were called to deal with the people who had drunk or ingested so much they couldn't even manage to be disorderly.

Though police inspector Mike Coleman played down the arrests, saying: "[It's] not bad, [for] a full moon and a nice hot night".

Meanwhile, last Tuesday, 120 Metallica fans were arrested after 2000 people turned up to a gig by the band at the Club Hípico racecourse in Chile without tickets. Finding themselves shut out, some began rioting, resulting in the police bringing in water cannons to bring the situation under control.

Watch some local TV new footage here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMir5e4mJM0

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Singer Etta James was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease just over a year ago, her son Donto has revealed. He also told CNN that his mother was recently treated for dependency on painkillers and other over-the-counter medicine, and that she suffers from speaking difficulties and has contracted MRSA during treatment for other ailments.

However, he remains confident that the 72 year old singer will be back on stage performing again in the future, though possibly only if new doctors can be found. Donto, who also plays in his mother's band, said: "I am going to end up losing my mother if it keeps going on like this. There has to be another doctor out there who can tell me what is going on with my mother. I want my mother back on stage again. I know it can happen".

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Pauly Fuemana, frontman of New Zealand group OMC, who were responsible for that 1995 hit 'How Bizarre', died after a short illness on 31 Jan, aged 40.

OMC, or Otara Millionaires Club, began life as a gansta rap group in a suburb of Auckland and became known for brandished machetes and throwing glass bottles at their audiences. When Fuemana left the group in 1995, he took the name with him (albeit abbreviated), and changed musical direction with the help of producer and co-writer Alan Janssan. In the same year, the pair released 'How Bizarre', which remains New Zealand's biggest selling single of all time, but subsequent releases fell short of its success and Fuemana was declared bankrupt in 2006.

Fueman and Janssan reunited in 2007 and released a comeback single, '4 All of Us', which featured vocals from 'Xena: Warrior Princess' star Lucy Lawless, but it failed to reignite OMC's career.

Fueman's brother Tony told One News: "He went from nothing to having all this fame dumped on him and he was meant to cope with it all himself. Even when he was in hospital he fought right to the end and that's within his career as well".

He is survived by his wife and five children.

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The xx have won this year's Xfm New Music Award, which is an annual award given to new artists by Xfm. Just in case that wasn't absolutely clear already. A panel of pundits selected the band's long player 'XX' as the best British debut album of 2009 from a shortlist voted for by listeners to the station. Rumours that having two Xs in their name tipped the balance in their favour are unsubstantiated and should be ignored. I mean, The ff weren't even shortlisted.

The Judges were Carl Barat, Xfm DJs John Kennedy, Dave Berry and Clint Boon, Editors frontman Tom Smith, Tim Burgess, Peter Hook, producer John Leckie, The Sun's Gordon Smart, MTV's David Morgendorff, Music Week's Ben Cardew, plus Tom Clarke of last year's winners The Enemy.

Tom Smith said of The xx's debut: "It's true originality, something you've not really heard before, it's not linked to sales, it's not linked to critical acclaim, it's something you'll come back to again and again and again. For whatever reason, they're resonating with critics and fans, which is good".

As previously reported, the full shortlist was as follows:

And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar
Band Of Skulls - Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
Bombay Bicycle Club - I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose
Florence & The Machine - Lungs
Kill It Kid - Kill It Kid
La Roux - La Roux
Little Boots - Hands
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
The xx - xx
White Lies - To Lose My Life

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The Simon Cowell-organised Haiti charity single was premiered on various radio stations at 8am this morning. Featuring some famous people and a load of rent-a-voice singers from Cowell's own roster, the cover of REM's 'Everybody Hurts' came together in a short space of time, after Gordon Brown specifically asked Cowell to put something together to raise funds for the post-earthquake relief effort in Haiti.

You can listen to the single here: www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/video/300101/Sun-TV-Video.html

Now, obviously I don't know what you think of the song. But if you decided, say, that you'd rather give money to Haiti without having to ever hear it again - ever - I would click here: www.dec.org.uk

In other charity single news, the new recording of Michael Jackson's 'We Are The World' went ahead yesterday in LA, also in aid of Haiti. The recording, which was organised by Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones, apparently features more than 100 singers, including Lady Gaga, Bono, Usher and Jennifer Hudson.

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Broken Social Scene have announced that they will release a new as-yet-untitled album via City Slang on 3 May.

For the writing and recording of this album, the collective's core duo, Kevin Drew and Brendan Cumming, were joined by Reverie Sound Revue's Lisa Lobsinger (vocals), Do Make Say Think's Charles Spearin (guitars), Apostle Of Hustle's Andrew Whiteman (guitars), Sam Goldberg (guitars) and Junior Blue's Justin Peroff (drums).

There are also brief appearances from other collective members Leslie Feist, Amy Millan and Evan Cranley of Stars, Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw of Metric, Jason Collett, Do Make Say Think's Ohad Benchetrit and Julie Penner, Raising The Fawn's John Crossingham, Marty Kinack and Leon Kingstone, as well as outsiders The Sea And Cake's Sam Prekop, John McEntire, Sebastian Grainger and Jason Tait from The Weakerthans.

The band will play the following UK shows in May, which is good news for people with ATP tickets and people who live in London. Brightonians should scoot on down to our Great Escape story.

13 May: London, Brixton Academy
14 May: All Tomorrow's Parties
17 May: London, Heaven

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Buzzy duo French Horn Rebellion have released a free EP, featuring some rare tracks and remixes, which you can have in exchange for you email address. So that's nice. The band have also just announced that they will be supporting Little Boots on her upcoming US tour.

The link to the EP is here: fan.musicglue.com/sale/promoproducts.aspx?ProductId=A8A0C01E-1F6D-46CE-9E61-359938946A1B

And this is the tracklist:

What I Want (Demo Edit)
Up All Night (Might Five Remix)
Ancient Lover - Tiger City (French Horn Rebellion Remix)
The Quatrain

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Boy George will not be duetting with Lady Gaga in London later this month, the noted criminal has said.

It had been rumoured that George would join Gaga at her upcoming O2 Arena shows later this month. Though our contact at her label, Polydor, mocked us ruthlessly for giving the rumours coverage in the CMU Daily.

Anyway, George told The Daily Star: "It's not true that I'm performing with her, but I would love to. I really like everything about her from her style to her music".

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Hot Chip released their fourth album, 'One Life Stand', yesterday, and to celebrate the band will be playing some songs at Rough Trade East tonight. Free wristbands for the event will be handed out to anyone who purchases the album from that particular record shop ahead of the performance, with any remainders given away on a first come first served basis just ahead of the show.

If you can't make that, the band will be playing some boring old normal gigs later in the month. You'll have to pay to get into these, though.

Tour dates:

12 Feb: Glasgow, Academy
13 Feb: Edinburgh, Picture House
15 Feb: Nottingham, Rock City
16 Feb: Leeds, Academy
18 Feb: Newcastle, Academy
19 Feb: Manchester, Academy
20 Feb: Birmingham, Academy
22 Feb: Bournemouth, Academy
23 Feb: Bristol, Academy
24 Feb: Norwich, UEA
26 Feb: London, Brixton Academy
27 Feb: London, Brixton Academy

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Organisers of The Great Escape have announced their initial band line up for this year.

It has a number of acts in common with its sister event, London new music festival Next Big Thing, which kicks off on Friday. A fact which sparked a discussion in CMU HQ as to when the next big things become the current big things, and whether they have to go through stages as the medium, bigger-than-medium and almost-big things before arriving at the top of the pile.

And if so, how big will these next big things be by the time The Great Escape takes place in May? Could the Brighton music convention be renamed The Not Yet But Closer To Being The Next Big Thing Than Before festival? I might go and register that URL just in case Team TGE decide to go that route. Then I can hold them to ransom.

Not that I'd wish to, you understand, we love TGE. And this year's edition is set to be as fine as ever, with, on the band side, this dazzling array of musical treats: Delphic, Chase And Status, Marina & The Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, Crystal Fighters, Slow Club, Cold Cave, Esben And The Witch, Hurts, Japandroids, Real Estate, Timber Timbre, Darwin Deez, Best Coast, The Cheek, Wild Palms and the above mentioned Broken Social Scene.

Over 350 artists will actually play the showcase component of The Great Escape this year, so that's just the tip of the iceberg. Expect plenty more acts - including, no doubt, the next next big things - to be added between now and May. And, of course, the entire line up for the industry convention bit is still to be announced. We'll keep you in the loop on that as and when things are confirmed.

More info and early bird ticket info at www.escapegreat.com

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Download has become the latest festival to ban flags from the main area of its site, following a similar decision at last year's Reading and Leeds festivals. The move is due to an "overwhelming" number of complaints after last year's event, according to organisers.

A message on the official Download website yesterday says: "Due to an overwhelming number of complaints from people - and now [that] we have had chance to view the footage from previous years and can see what everyone means (and not see the acts on stage!) - we will be banning flags on sticks in the main arena.Hope you all understand that this is to ensure that everyone can enjoy what's on stage. [People with flags] will be stopped at the entrance to the arena and anyone who breaks the rule will be ejected from the festival".

This is good news for flag haters. Personally, I vote that flags be outlawed from society altogether.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - 20 Years. Remixed (Strictly Rhythm)
Over 700 cuts have been released over two decades by premier US house label Strictly Rhythm. Distilled down to just 20 big hitters and remixed for the label's 20th anniversary, this compilation is an interesting project, but will it live up to expectations? This all depends on what you think of the label's current talent, and the amount of nostalgia you have for the originals. For me, tampering with some truly classic tracks does smack a little of sacrilege, and the results are a mixed bag.

Michel Cleis adds bland Balearic touches to River Ocean's 'Love And Happiness', Rose's remix of Hardrive's 'Deep Inside' is passable but the bassline is far too loose, 'I Like To Move It' from Reel2Reel gets a banal modern wobbly bassline from Klaas, and Josh Wink's 'Higher State Of Consciousness' gets retouched by Deep South, who take it a bit harder, but don't build to the monstrous breakdown of the original. Worst of all, The Wamdue Project's 'King Of My Castle', which was never my favourite anyway, gets a Europop make over by Fasano And Forest, a rework that simply reminds me how insipid modern dance music can be.

On the more positive side, Jimpster's take on Photon's 'Generate Power', while failing to use that killer vocal, does bump away well, while the classic 'Follow Me' by Aly-Us gets retouched rather than remixed by San Fran's Fred Everything, and to good effect. Bob Sinclar's remix of Ultra Nate's 'Free' shows that Sinclar is truly a one trick pony, but his formula does fit this track well, and Tiefschwarz nicely make Phuture's 'Rise From Your Grave' more menacing.

It's not the worst thing you'll ever hear, but refining the better remixes onto one disc, backed with a disc of originals would have made a better package. PV

Physical release: 1 Feb
Press contact: Defected IH [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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How about a Fightstar and Lethal Bizzle collaboration for breakfast? With some Jagermeister on the side? Well, that's how your Wednesday morning might kick off tomorrow.

The drinks brand are relaunching the music channel on their website tomorrow, and to celebrate they locked the rock band and the grime rapper in a room together. Unlike past efforts to marry the rock and grime scenes, no bottles of piss were thrown this time. Nor even a bottle of Jagermeister, of which presumably plenty were at hand.

Instead Bizzle, Charlie Simpson and other Fightstar members 1, 2 and 3, all settled down and wrote a song, a performance of which will be streaming on the aforementioned new look website from tomorrow.

After collaborating with the rapper at London's Strongroom Studios, Charlie told CMU: "Most people have to go to work and sit at a desk all day - we get to do crazy stuff with Lethal Bizzle. Obviously our sound is different, but the funny thing is I don't think we're that far removed, when you actually mix the sound together".

The Bizzler added: "I'm a fan of music in general, so rock, indie, hip hop - it influences my music anyway. When I get opportunities I like to work with different people".

More on this and other Jagermeister supported bands at www.jagermeister.co.uk from tomorrow.

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The Entertainment Retailers Association is launching a search for independent record stores in the UK, because there's a rumour going round that one still exists somewhere. No, not really, the trade body is mounting a search for the *best* indie record store in the country, as part of a campaign to promote how lovely and brilliant and important independent music shops are.

ERA has set up a new website to promote indie stores and in-store events happening in them. I'm not sure whether it will also have a section detailing how ERA's bigger members have screwed the indie sector by employing a dodgy VAT loophole that lets them sell CDs dirt cheap via their mail-order operations by locating said operations in Jersey and avoiding having to pay tax, something independent players could never afford to do. But I do know that the aforementioned 'vote for your favourite record shop' poll is on there, with everyone who votes by a week on Thursday getting entered into a competition to win tickets to the BRIT Awards.

ERA Director General Kim Bayley told CMU: "It is no secret that independents have had a tough time over the past years. The launch of http://www.indierecordshop.org and this search for Britain's Best Indie will, we think, help focus attention on the grassroots of music retailing where new artists are nurtured".

The new site is at www.indierecordshop.org

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Napster is apparently planning a big relaunch of its UK service later in the year to coincide with the arrival of its parent company - US electronics retailer Best Buy - into the UK market.

As previously reported, Best Buy have been looking into entering the UK retail market for some time, and their arrival is now set to happen this Spring with three stores, one in Southampton, one near Dudley and one in Thurrock in Essex. The Napster relaunch would presumably involve an in-store presence at these new Best Buy shops.

As also previously reported, Napster last year repositioned its services to emphasise the Spotify-style unlimited streaming platform it offers subscribers. Although there is no free version of that service, those who do subscribe also get to download a number of MP3s for keeps as part of their subscription.

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The radio business is considering taking a leaf out the motor industry's book by incentivising the destruction of analogue radio sets, part of the radio sector's bid to turn us all digital in a bid to meet the government's target of 2015 for a switch off of FM services.

The proposal is that people would get up to a 20% discount off a nice shiny new digital radio if they hand in an old FM set when they buy it. The aim is to remove the number of old school radios still in circulation.

The move is based on the motor industry's government-backed car trashing promotion whereby people who traded in cars more than ten years old when they bought a new one got a £2000 discount, a promotion that aimed to [a] take more polluting older cars off the roads and [b] to ensure there were fewer used cars on the market, to encourage more people to buy new vehicles to boost the flagging motor industry.

I'm not sure the government would subsidise the radio trashing in the same way they helped fund the car scrapping, which means the manufacturers of digital sets, retailers like Currys and possibly the radio station groups themselves would have to subsidise the discount scheme. Digital Radio UK, which is overseeing the switchover to digital, says it is currently consulting all parties about the idea.

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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. Muse - The Resistance (Warner Bros)
2. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures (Sony Music)
3. Foo Fighters - Greatest Hits (Sony Music)
4. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Warner/Roadrunner)
5. Bon Jovi - The Circle (Mercury)
6. Paramore - Brand New Eyes (Warner/Atlantic)
7. Thirty Seconds To Mars - This Is War (EMI/Virgin)
8. Queen - Absolute Greatest (EMI)
9. Pearl Jam - Backspacer (Universal)
10. Daughtry - Leave This Town (Sony Music)
11. Fleetwood Mac - The Very Best Of (Warner Bros)
12. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
13. Kiss - Sonic Boom (Warner/Roadrunner)
14. Shinedown - The Sound Of Madness (Warner/Atlantic)
15. Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue (EMI/Parlophone)
16. Mudvayne - Mudvayne (Sony Music)
17. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner Bros)
18. Billy Talent - III (Warner/Atlantic)
19. Flyleaf - Memento Mori (Universal/A&M)*
20. Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (Universal/Geffen)

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A performance at a primary school in the village of Knowsley in Merseyside was cancelled yesterday after a local newspaper mistakenly reported that Grammy award-winning country singer Taylor Swift would be playing for the children. The show was, in fact, part of a brief promo tour for lesser known US singer, Taylor Bright, who is preparing for the release of her debut single, 'Striped Socks'.

St Mary Margaret's Primary School was reportedly swamped with enquiries about the show after The Liverpool Echo reported that Swift would be making an appearance this week. Interest in the show then increased after the Echo announcement was repeated to 40,000 football fans at Liverpool's game against Bolton Wanderers at the weekend.

In a statement, the school said: "We had planned a short concert for the children on 1 Feb, featuring an unknown singer, Taylor Bright. Unfortunately, The Liverpool Echo has printed an inaccurate story that pop singer Taylor Swift is coming. There will now be no concert and the Liverpool Echo has promised to print an amendment".

A spokeswoman for Bright told the BBC: "I have no idea why they thought Taylor Swift would be performing at St Margaret Mary's when she was in America picking up her Grammys. It must have been a slip of the tongue. Taylor was very confused about what happened and very disappointed that the performance had to be cancelled. At one point she even said: 'They're not expecting Taylor Swift are they?' But the children already had posters and knew who she was".

The Echo has apologised and offered to make a donation to the school. Meanwhile, the paper's music correspondent Peter Guy has compiled a list of things that have been learnt from this incident: www.peterguy.merseyblogs.co.uk/2010/02/hey-yall-taylor-swift-aint-com.html

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
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Owen Smith
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Paul Vig
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