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INFORMATION
Classifieds
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Bez jailed after refusing to do community service
Faxon on EMI's "recovery"
In The Pop Courts
Timbaland not dead, lost or dangerous
Awards & Contests
NASA launches space song contest
Reunions & Splits
New bassist joins Dimmu Borgir, then quits
In The Studio
Girls Aloud's Nicola working on solo album
Cribs in "identity crisis"
Release News
Of Montreal plan EP release
Lissie unveils weather-influenced interactive video
Gigs & Tours News
Klaxons announce tour dates
Best Coast announce tour
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Reviews
Album review: OMD - History Of Modern (100% Records)
Brands & Stuff
Weezer reveal real inspiration for album title
The Music Business
EMI publicist promoted to new role
The Digital Business
Pandora add genre choice
Apple announce extra special announcement
And finally...
Sugababes to launch perfume range
Diana Vickers on the perils of legal highs


 
THURSDAY 26TH AUGUST
JAMES BLACKSHAW
Originally starting out in punk bands, James Blackshaw now primarily plays an acoustic twelve-string guitar and has been compared to the likes of Bert Jansch, Robbie Basho and Jack Rose. Having already released eight studio albums, James is about to release his ninth, 'All Is Falling'. Produced by John Hannon and Blackshaw himself, the album was recorded last December and sees James' first foray into the realm of the electric twelve-string guitar. With that album out on 30 Aug via Young God Records, we caught up with James to ask the Same Six.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I've been making music in some form or another since I was about thirteen years old. I used to play electric guitar and bass guitar in a couple of punk rock bands as a teenager, sang a bit, even attempted drums, which I was terrible at, and the piano. Guitar was definitely the first instrument I took seriously, but conversely, for a while I totally lost interest in it, until I was in my early 20s. I had heard John Fahey some years before and was kind of fascinated and bemused by his music, but at some point I got really engrossed with the idea of guitar as a solo instrument. I listened to Fahey, Robbie Basho, a lot of old blues and initially just copied what I heard. I also started to get interested in classical music, minimalism, drone and a lot of different types of music from India, Japanese koto playing and Indonesian gamelan, and wondered if I could incorporate all these interests somehow. When I picked up a twelve-string guitar for the first time when I was 23, everything just seemed to fall into place.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
I really don't have any kind of grand plan when I start work on an album, but this time I bought an electric twelve-string guitar and became really interested with the sonic properties of the instrument. I think by default it meant my playing style changed or adapted to fit the guitar itself. At some point, I was coming up with a lot of different ideas, all in the same alternative tuning, and I could just hear that these parts or fragments somehow belonged together to make one long piece in different movements. I also bought some better home recording equipment around that time. The album wasn't recorded at home, but it did allow me to figure out arrangements for other instruments, like violin, cello and winds, way in advance, so it was more carefully composed ahead of time, as opposed to some previous occasions where that sort of thing has been more spontaneous. 'All Is Falling', the title itself, was a phrase I stole from one of Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader's notebooks. I'm a big fan and I liked the ambiguity of how that could be interpreted.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Things almost always start life with me sitting and playing, usually guitar or sometimes piano. As I said, I normally have no idea what I want to play or where it'll go from there. I guess I'm attempting to channel some kind of mood or feeling I might not be able to articulate in words. I can't really explain it much better than that. Starting work on something is the hardest part for me, then when I have a certain amount of material, my overall sense of the what the album is starts to take shape - how it should be recorded, what other instruments I'd like to hear etc.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
A lot of minimalist composers - Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine, Rhys Chatham etc - and of course a lot of those guitarists on the Takoma label. I think recently I'm also kind of influenced by a lot of stuff I don't like, if that makes sense, in terms of what I don't want to do. I just really appreciate anything that's well crafted, has been carefully thought out and has a lot of heart. In terms of more recent stuff, Jim O'Rourke is definitely someone whose music I'm genuinely in awe of.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Just to try to be patient and open-minded, I guess. My music's not for everybody, but I'm happy that some people really get something from it, whatever that might be.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
I've got a lot of touring coming up soon with Swans in the UK and Europe this autumn/winter. I've just been taking a break, so am looking forward to getting out there again. Beyond that, I really don't know. I'm certain I'll start on another album at some point next year and continue working with Current 93, but at this point, I don't want to force myself to keep working on music for the sake of it. I've got one or two ideas, but they'll need to some time to come to fruition. I'd love to do a soundtrack for a film sometime, that's long been an ambition for me.

MORE>> www.myspace.com/jamesblackshaw
 
DOES IT OFFEND YOU, YEAH? - WE ARE THE DEAD
After two years, Does It Offend You, Yeah? are finally coming close to finishing work on their second album, 'Don't Say We Didn't Warn You'. There's still a little way to go, sample clearing and mastering mainly, so it's not clear when it'll actually be out yet, but the band have put a new track online for all to enjoy.

 
Entitled 'We Are The Dead', the track is a definite progression from their debut album, opening with acoustic guitar and voice, before dropping a load of beats all over the place a minute in, the first of a number of twists and turns throughout the song. As well as downloading the complete track, you can also download the individual parts in order to create your own remix (or if you just fancy listening to the bass on its own).

www.doesitoffendyou.com/wearethedead.html


 
  INTERESTED IN SELLING YOUR RECORD LABEL?
Music Gain is acquiring record labels and catalogue. If you are thinking of selling, or have a large catalogue you want managed on your behalf, then please contact us. Introduction and spotters fees also paid. Please visit us - www.musicgain.com
       
  BESPOKE MUSIC, MEDIA AND PR TRAINING FROM CMU
The team behind CMU's acclaimed seminars programme are now offering their services to music and media companies, educational bodies and membership organisations looking for bespoke professional training courses. CMU's existing courses on music rights, music business models, music PR, media and social media can be run specifically for an organisation's employees, students or members, or bespoke courses can be developed according to an organisation's specific needs. For more information contact Chris Cooke on 020 7099 9050 or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.
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BEZ JAILED AFTER REFUSING TO DO COMMUNITY SERVICE
Former Happy Monday Bez had a not so happy Wednesday yesterday when he was thrown in jail for a month. The jail sentence related to that previously reported assault conviction dished out earlier this month after an altercation between him and the mother of his two year old son back in May.

He would have got away with community service and a fine, but he chose to represent himself in court, which is never a good idea, especially if you're a space cadet with a vocabulary of just under 60 words.

According to the Press Association, when magistrate Marie Cash passed her initial sentence Bez, real name Mark Berry, said he wouldn't do it, telling her: "I'm not doing it. Bothered? I'm going to appeal and take this to a real court". Cash responded by jailing him. Oh, to be a magistrate.

A handcuffed Bez later reportedly shouted "victory is in my grasp" as he was escorted to the cells, possibly because he was having a flashback to the last night of his stint on 'Celebrity Big Brother'.

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FAXON ON EMI'S "RECOVERY"
EMI chief Roger Faxon donned a very fine hat for an interview with Billboard earlier this week to discuss that recent financial report that showed that, while the UK major is still loss-making, it is doing a lot better now than it has for a number of years, despite that horrible multi-billion debt it has with the increasingly unhelpful Citigroup.

Asked for his take on his company's recent performance, Faxon told the US trade magazine: "There is always the press speculation about the debt load and all of those things. But basically everyone should feel comfortable that EMI is operating on four of its six cylinders, so we have two more cylinders to ignite to get the thing to roll where it ought to be and maybe we will get it up to eight cylinders. But it's a good solid story. And in any other industry, it would be sort of 'oh yeah, they are doing okay' but in our industry, it's a pretty remarkable turnaround story".

Asked about why he thought EMI had done a lot better revenues-wise in the last financial year, Faxon focused on projects within the company's recorded music division, the flagging part of the firm that has only recently fallen under his remit. He mused: "We had a lot of really good records in the marketplace. Obviously, we had the Beatles remastered programme, which was very successful. But we had a lot of other really great success. Lady Antebellum burned up the charts, and while Robbie Williams is largely a European phenomenon, he did really well. You had David Guetta and Lily Allen and a great run with Depeche Mode this past year. So, there were a lot of reasons why EMI Music did well".

For legal reasons, we must stress that Roger Faxon was not wearing a hat during this interview. The hat mentioned above was figurative.

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TIMBALAND NOT DEAD, LOST OR DANGEROUS
A manhunt seemingly occurred in LA yesterday for that Timbaland fella after a family member expressed concern for his safety to the authorities. Said family member thought the producer might harm himself, ie commit suicide, because he was so distraught after a $2 million piece of jewellery, widely reported to be a watch, was stolen.

But Mr Land soon turned up, explaining he'd just gone out for a drive to clear his head after discovering the jewellery theft. According to People magazine, he told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show yesterday: "I don't even know what happened, to be honest I don't know what people are talking about. Why would I commit suicide?"

He added: "Something [was stolen] but it wasn't a watch, it was something else. [So I took] a drive to figure out how I'm going to handle it".

Personally I'm quite distraught any one piece of jewellery could be deemed to be worth $2 million. But don't worry, I won't commit suicide. Though I might lock myself in that cupboard for ten minutes and cry.

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NASA LAUNCHES SPACE SONG CONTEST
NASA have launched two competitions to select songs that will be played to astronauts on the final two missions of the space shuttle programme. The first a poll to choose one of 40 songs played on previous missions, the second the opportunity to have one of your own songs played during the final mission next February.

Amongst the songs in the first vote are 'Beautiful Day' by U2, 'What A Wonderful World' by Louis Armstrong and 'Fly Me To The Moon' by Frank Sinatra. But probably more exciting is the second part of the competition, calling on musicians to upload their own songs for use during the STE-134 trip to the International Space Station, aka the final shuttle flight. Your song might even be heard by aliens. I hear the music industry in other parts of the galaxy is far more stable than our own.

To vote and/or upload music, head to this quite shoddy looking website: songcontest.nasa.gov

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NEW BASSIST JOINS DIMMU BORGIR, THEN QUITS
Good news Dimmu Borgir fans, the Norwegian black metallers have finally announced a replacement for bassist ICS Vortex (not his real name), who left the band last year. The bad news is, the new guy's already quit. Or so it seems.

Therion's Snowy Shaw (not his real name), formerly of Swedish metallers Therion, confirmed on Tuesday that he had stepped in as Dimmu Borgir's new bassist.

However, the next day, Therion frontman Christofer Johnsson issued a statement to Blabbermouth, saying: "We are very happy to announce that Snowy has rejoined Therion. We welcomed him back with open arms, and we will now be making a mix between the new show we had planned, and the last one which involved Snowy. We think the merger between the two concepts will be incredible, and we look forward to taking the band's live performance to the next level".

Dimmu Borgir are due to play The Forum in London on 21 Sep.

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GIRLS ALOUD'S NICOLA WORKING ON SOLO ALBUM
Good news for Girls Aloud fans who like being bombarded with music, Nicola Roberts has joined Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle and Sarah Harding in recording a solo album, all of which are due to be released later this year.

Roberts told Metro: "When I've not been doing [work for my make-up brand] Dainty Doll this year, I've been in the studio non-stop doing all of my own song writing. I would never give up on music. Music has always been the thing that's been closest to me".

Cheryl Cole has, of course, already released one solo album, last year's 'Three Words', with the follow-up scheduled for release in October. It was recently announced that Nadine Coyle's debut solo album would be released exclusively through Tesco stores, while Sarah Harding has gone a little quiet of late, but probably because she's working so ruddy bloody hard.

Kimberley Walsh is the only member of the group not to record any solo material. But not because she's rubbish, she just doesn't fancy it (or is "fundamentally opposed" to it, as sources might say).

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CRIBS IN "IDENTITY CRISIS"
Cribs bassist Gary Jarman has said that the band are suffering an "identity crisis" over their next album, the follow-up to last year's 'Ignore The Ignorant'.

Jarman told Gigwise: "It's like an identity crisis - I think we've got a few facets to us. With the Cribs, when we first started out it was just about doing what you want, and one part of me really just wants The Cribs to record a record in the basement - that's what we used to do. And then the other side of me wants to go to America and spend a couple of months in the studio making a big record. It's weird, I'm torn at the minute".

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OF MONTREAL PLAN EP RELEASE
Of Montreal's new album, 'False Priest', isn't out yet, and already the band are planning a new EP. Entitled 'The Controller Sphere', it will feature three outtakes from the new album.

Frontman Kevin Barnes told Consequence Of Sound: "There's three songs that we were initially going to put on 'False Priest' that we decided to cut at the last second. I haven't decided which I want to put on there, but there's a lot of material to choose from".

The EP is expected to be released in spring next year, while 'False Priest' is out on Polyvinyl on 13 Sep. Right now you can watch the video for new single, 'Coquet Coquette', here: youtu.be/hx01UXtjuFg

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LISSIE UNVEILS WEATHER-INFLUENCED INTERACTIVE VIDEO
Singer-songwriter Lissie has unveiled the video for her new single, 'Cuckoo', which sees her and her band placed at the whim of her viewers. In a tie-up with some weather channel, the weather conditions in the video can be linked to those anywhere in the world simply by clicking different areas of a world map.

So, you could send her the sun from a Spanish beach, or subject her to the freezing conditions of the North Pole. Well, I'm assuming so, my computer didn't like it, so I didn't get to play. But you can have a go here: www.lissie.com/weather

'Cuckoo' is out on 30 Aug and features a cover of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'.

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KLAXONS ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES
Klaxons have just released their new album, 'Surfing The Void', now they're going to go on tour. It's all go.

Tour dates:

12 Nov: Norwich, UEA
13 Nov: Bournemouth, Academy
16 Nov: London, The Forum
17 Nov: London, The Forum
22 Nov: Leeds, Academy

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BEST COAST ANNOUNCE TOUR
With their debut album 'Crazy For You' causing a buzz so loud that things keep vibrating off the mantelpiece and smashing on the floor, Best Coast have now announced some UK tour dates:

29 Nov: Manchester, Sound Control
30 Nov: Birmingham, Glee Club
1 Dec: London, The Scala

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FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE

LOOPALLU, Ullapool, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland, 17-18 Sep: Kassidy, Rachel Sermanni and James Mackenzie & The Aquascene have all been confirmed to play at next month's Scottish fest, joining the previously announced Idlewild, Turin Brakes and The Magic Numbers. www.loopallu.co.uk

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ALBUM REVIEW: OMD - History Of Modern (100% Records)
Given the last few years' electronic pop resurgence, it's feels right that one of that genre's pioneers should resurface for their first album in 14 years. In fact, it's also their first featuring the original line up of Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey since 1986's 'The Pacific Age', although sonically 'HOM' has much in common with the fizzy synth pop of McCluskey's early 90s OMD output, whilst under-rated single 'If You Want It' bears more than a passing resemblance to 1996's 'Walking On The Milky Way', though it's arguably an even better song.

Some of these tracks have been dug out of the OMD vaults, whilst newer creations tap into the group's history of wistful melancholia and toytown futurism. And so, the brutally insistent Simon Cowell-baiting opener 'New Babies: New Toys' has nods to 'The New Stone Age' (and it could teach The Killers a thing or two about compelling, pulsating synth rock). Ludicrously catchy 'Sister Marie Says' is a close relative of 'Enola Gay' (hardly surprising since both tracks were written 30 years ago), whilst the lush waltz 'Bondage Of Fate' recalls the dreamy desolation of 'International'. Meanwhile, the two title tracks (that's 'Parts 1' and '2' if you're confused) are genuinely up there (no, really) with the duo's early 80s classics - the affecting vocals, interesting lyrics and devastatingly simple but wonderfully pretty synth riffs harking back to 'Souvenir', 'Electricity', 'Tesla Girls' et al.

It's not a faultless collection (the Kraftwerk tribute 'RFWK' is well-intentioned but just sounds clunky and laboured, whilst listening to 'Pulse' is like phoning a sex line to be greeted with Andy McCluskey with bad cold), and purists will moan at the lack of a Humphreys vocal or the absence of the experimental side of the group that gave us the inexplicably brilliant 'Dazzle Ships', but OMD don't really need to prove anything. Simply put, this is a collection of memorable electro-pop (with a few heavenly moments) that ranks as one of their best albums. MS

Physical release: 20 Sep
Press contact: Bang On

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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WEEZER REVEAL REAL INSPIRATION FOR ALBUM TITLE
Despite the fact that the cover of Weezer's new album features a picture of 'Lost' character Hurley Reyes, played by actor Jorge Garcia, it was apparently not named 'Hurley' after him. In an interview for AEG Live's YouTube channel recorded at the Mile High music festival, guitarist Brian Bell says the name is actually taken from clothing company Hurley International, which funded some of the album's recording.

Bell explained: "[Hurley] was funding the record at the beginning of the process. We actually did some sort of advertisement... I don't even know how they're tied in so much, although we got some clothes and we did a photo shoot and we were wearing these clothes, and I think we're selling these clothes in malls".

He continued: "How that's tied in, I don't know. I think it's this whole, like, tying-in different medias and then using Hurley, the character from 'Lost', which I've never seen in my life, as our mascot for this record is somewhat postmodernist, maybe. I hope people don't look at it as too jokey, cos it certainly comes across that way without reading into it a little deeper".

You can see why when he was asked about the album cover by Spinner recently, frontman Rivers Cuomo just said: "I just loved this photo of Jorge Garcia - it just had this amazing vibe. We didn't want to do a fourth self-titled record and we knew people would refer to it as 'the Hurley record' even if left it without that title, so we just called it 'Hurley'. No words are on the cover because all we wanted was his amazing face".

You can watch Bell's interview in full here: youtu.be/W-llWCENnyk

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EMI PUBLICIST PROMOTED TO NEW ROLE
EMI publicist Debra Geddes put on a lovely cardigan yesterday to celebrate being promoted to the new role of Senior Director of Artist Publicity at the music major.

It's an interesting sounding job, newly created, in that it will cut across the various record labels within the EMI empire, and might be a sign that the major plans to do publicity work around key artists on a more on-going basis rather than just tied to new album releases, something that is highly sensible in an era where every artists' entire back catalogue is on sale (digitally) all the time. It would be interesting to know if Geddes will work on artists signed to EMI's growing merchandise empire too.

Alas a quote from EMI Music UK President Andria Vidler about Geddes' new role revealed little: "Bringing together our artist publicity team under one senior director creates a strong and flexible team that will allow us and our artists to maximise the great publicity skills we have in-house and the opportunities of the rapidly changing media landscape".

For legal reasons, we must stress that Debra Geddes was not wearing a lovely cardigan yesterday. The cardigan mentioned above was figurative.

For legal reasons, we must stress that that doesn't mean Debra Geddes was wearing a horrible cardigan yesterday. We don't actually know what she was wearing, but are confident every item of clothing was marvellous. Especially the shoes.

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PANDORA ADD GENRE CHOICE
US-based streaming music flim flam Pandora marked its fifth birthday yesterday by adding a new bit of functionality so that users can kick off their personalised music stream by picking a whole genre rather than a specific artist or song.

Said Pandora Senior Music Curator, Michael Zapruder: "Our listeners have been telling us for a while that they'd like an easy way to start a station from popular genres with the option to personalise the station from there. We wanted to find a uniquely Pandora way to address this consumer need so we created a number of genre stations that are carefully seeded with relevant songs and constantly refreshed with new releases".

So that's all exciting. In related news, Music Week has reported that Elevation Partners, the equity group in which Bono has an interest, wants to buy a stake of Pandora. Which is not exciting at all.

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APPLE ANNOUNCE EXTRA SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Apple are going to announce something. Yes, people, now is indeed the correct time to piss your pants, you are well ahead of me. Yesterday the tech company sent out invitations to an event next Wednesday in San Francisco. They didn't say what they were announcing, but the invitations do feature a picture of an acoustic guitar, so it's assumed to be music-related.

At this time of year, Apple generally unveils its new range of iPods. But that's boring, so I'm going to join everyone else in speculating about what new product might be about to hit the market. I'm pretty sure it's going to a brand new type of music player, which predicts future trends and automatically writes and records music for you based on your own personal tastes. As a result, there will be no need for actual musicians any more, thus solving the problem of illegal file-sharing.

This will all be officially announced at 10am PDT (so, 6pm in the UK) on 1 Sep.

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SUGABABES TO LAUNCH PERFUME RANGE
The current Sugababes have announced that they are to release a range of perfumes. The three fragrances, one for each member of the group, are called Tempt, Tease and Touch.

Jade Ewen tweeted on Tuesday: "Just seen our final mock-ups for our fragrances! Can't wait for you guys to smell them!"

I hope whoever Touch relates to washes her hands regularly.

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DIANA VICKERS ON THE PERILS OF LEGAL HIGHS
There's a lot of talk about drugs at the moment, and in particular legal highs, as new stimulants flood the market faster than the government can draw everyone's attention to them by banning them. Who better to comment on this than Diana Vickers, who has apparently been to some festivals.

Vickers told The Sun: "At festivals this summer, I've seen people passing out and people who don't know where they are or what they are doing after taking drugs. I was even around someone who thought that their friend was a fridge. Being that out of control scares me. Just because a drug is legal, you cannot assume it is safe".

Thinking that someone is a fridge is, of course, utterly ridiculous. But he did keep our beer so very cold.

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