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INFORMATION
CMU Info
TODAY'S NEWS
Top Stories
Ministry puts sue-the-fans litigation on hold
Bush cares about Kanye's claims
BBC apologises to Band Aid over "misleading" report
In The Pop Courts
Terra Firma v Citigroup: Summing up
Taylor Swift hits back in former manager lawsuit
Obituaries
Models frontman dies
Awards & Contests
Composer award noms announced
Reunions & Splits
The Drums just fine without Kessler
Kyuss lives without Homme
In The Studio
Albarn forms new band with Tony Allen
Gigs & Tours News
Hurts announce first 2011 tour dates
Trash Talk give away single ahead of tour
Deathray Trebuchay album launch next week
Reviews
Album review: Andrew Bird - Useless Creatures (Cooperative Music/Bella Union)
The Digital Business
90 second previews coming to iTunes US
Three-strikes still on agenda in New Zealand, though strike three has been postponed for two years
The Media Business
Motörhead to release album with Classic Rock special
Cable expected to hand News Corp's Sky takeover plans to OfCom for review
And finally...
Rihanna to turn on Westfield Christmas lights
Jay-Z discusses Hammer beef


 
THURSDAY 4TH NOVEMBER
LET'S WRESTLE
Formed in 2005, Let's Wrestle released their debut album, 'In The Court Of The Wrestling, Lets', in 2009, through Stolen Recordings, following a string of single and EP releases. The band then signed new deals with Merge in the US and Full Time Hobby in the UK this year, with both labels re-issuing the debut. The UK edition, featuring an extra disc of songs from their early releases, is out this week, while a second long player is already finished and ready for release next summer. We caught up with frontman Wesley Patrick Gonzales to ask the Same Six Questions.

 
Q1 How did you start out making music?
I don't know. I liked music, I listened to music and one day decided I wanted to be music.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The album title was inspired by King Crimson's debut album. I can't really remember what inspired us to make it. A lot of stuff, I suppose. Les Paul and Mary Ford and Swell Maps.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
We record the songs live, then put the vocals on, then the extra guitars, then the keyboards, then we mix it. In total, 'In The Court...' took 27 hours to make (if I remember correctly).

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
The Beatles, Television Personalities, Neil Young, Fugazi and Margo Guryan.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
What do you think?

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Well we've already recorded the second album, 'Trout Mask Wrestlica', with one of our favourite producers, Steve Albini. That will come out around May, so we're all set for that. It sounds great, even if I say so myself.

MORE>> http://www.myspace.com/letsfuckingwrestle
 
MNDR
Amanda Warner goes by the name MNDR. As an abbreviation it doesn't really work, but this does ensure that every time I see it I say it at least three times to myself in my head as my brain attempts to process it. Therefore, as a stage name, I'd say it's a winner. She self-released an EP, entitled 'EPE', in April, which generated some attention, but the real boost to her career was providing vocals on the first single from Mark Ronson's 'Record Collection' album, 'Bang Bang Bang' alongside Q-Tip.

 
Later this month, 24 Nov to be exact, MNDR will be playing a one-off show at XOYO in London. Here's how she describes the night: "This show will include some visual adventures in lights and we plan on turning the club into chrome tears. Our bones will light up". So, good. To warm your bones up a bit first, she's giving away a free download of 'Caligula', a track from her in-production debut album on her blog. If you root around there, you'll also find a link to her MySpace page, which is playing the 'EPE' EP.

mndrmndr.com/blog/


MINISTRY PUTS SUE-THE-FANS LITIGATION ON HOLD
Ministry Of Sound has decided to suspend its previously reported sue-the-fans litigation campaign because a delay in the legal process means a substantial amount of the data the company needed to access from BT has now been deleted, and, the label says, because of economies of scale - the legal costs for getting the data that remains are too high.

As previously reported, Ministry announced earlier this year it was breaking rank from the rest of the UK music industry and would sue for damages web-users that had illegally shared music in which the clubbing company's record label had an interest. Such litigation is usually based on the principle that the vast majority of those targeted will settle out of court, meaning the label can make a profit from damages payments even after the legal men have taken their cut.

Although the sue-the-fans approach was industry standard in the US for years, and became the norm in Germany too, in the UK, while trade body the BPI did sue just over 100 file-sharers back in the day, most label bosses have advocated a three-strikes style system for tackling online piracy, and have invested most of their energies into getting that on the statute book, which they did earlier this year in the Digital Economy Act, though the system is yet to actually go live.

Ministry hired law firm Gallant Macmillan to handle its litigation, with 25,000 BT customers the first to be targeted. Unfortunately the campaign hit a set back in both legal and PR terms when, just days before Ministry's lawyers were due in court to force BT to hand over the names and addresses of suspected file-sharers, another London legal firm - ACS Law - which has been trying to turn sue-the-fans into a stand-alone business, committed one of the biggest data breaches in data protection history.

While dealing with a Distributed Denial Of Service attack on its website by the pro-file-sharing community, the shambolic ACS accidentally put online the names, addresses and other private information relating to thousands of the suspected file-sharers they had been targeting on behalf of various clients, including content owners from the porn industry.

Using the ACS shambles as ammunition, when Gallant Macmillan faced BT in court, the phone firm asked that the case be adjourned so that it could review the way ISPs provide customer information to content owners pursuing copyright infringement actions, so it could be assured data protection rules would be adhered to. The case was set to continue in January with BT due to propose an alternative process for the ways net firms assist content owners in this kind of action.

But yesterday Ministry announced that it was suspending its litigation, because it had learned that of the 25,000 incidents of file-sharing it had spotted, BT had now deleted records relating to 20,000 of them. BT says that it is standard practice to delete such records after 90 days for privacy and data protection reasons. This means that even if the phone company was forced to hand over the names and addresses of the suspected file-sharers Ministry had identified, it could only do so for 5000. This, Ministry say, isn't cost efficient.

In a statement, Ministry Of Sound CEO Lohan Presencer told reporters: "Whilst Ministry of Sound were happy to incur substantial legal costs to access 25,000 names, it is simply not economic to pursue the 5000 remaining illegal uploaders. It is very disappointing that BT decided not to preserve the identities of the illegal uploaders. Given that less than 20% of the names remain, and BT costs have soared from a few thousand pounds to several hundred thousand pounds, it makes no economic sense to continue with this application".

But Presencer insisted that, despite the setback, his company remained committed to targeting file-sharers with copyright infringement litigation, adding: "We are more determined than ever to go after internet users who illegally upload our copyrighted material. We will be making further applications for information from all ISPs. Every time that a track or album is uploaded to the web it is depriving artists of royalties and reducing the money which we can invest in new British talent".

Speaking to TorrentFreak, a BT spokesman said that the 90 day record deletion process was standard, and that Ministry's lawyers knew about this process. In a later statement the spokesman also mused that the company was disappointed that - with the Ministry litigation now cancelled - it wouldn't have the chance to present to court their proposals for how ISPs should work with content owners when it comes to revealing the identities of suspected file-sharers.

Mr BT: "The Ministry of Sound's decision is clearly a matter for them. It's a shame though that, in this instance, our concerns over the current process will not be examined by the court. However, it remains our intention to ensure our broadband customers are adequately protected so that rights holders can pursue their claims for copyright infringement without causing unnecessary worry to innocent people. BT therefore intends to write to ACS:Law and Gallant MacMillan seeking their agreement to a revised approach to previously granted orders before disclosing any further customer details".

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BUSH CARES ABOUT KANYE'S CLAIMS
Former US president George W Bush has said that the lowest point of his low-point-heavy eight years in charge of the world's most powerful nation was when Kanye West accused him of not caring about black people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In fact, this was more gutting for the former Prez and warlord, it seems, than the fact 1500 people died on his watch because of woeful mismanagement by Federal authorities in Louisiana before and immediately after the hurricane struck. Go Kanye.

Bush was widely criticised for his government's response to the natural disaster which flooded New Orleans in 2005, hitting the city's poorest, mainly black, communities hardest. It was during a televised fundraiser for the victims of the disaster that Kanye West claimed that "George Bush doesn't care about black people".

In his new memoir, 'Decision Points', Bush writes: "Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust. I faced a lot of criticism as President. I didn't like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all time low".

Speaking to Matt Lauer on NBC (the same network that aired the fundraiser where Kanye dissed the President), Bush added: "He called me a racist ... I didn't appreciate it then. I don't appreciate it now. It's one thing to say: 'I don't appreciate the way he's handled his business'. It's another thing to say: 'This man's a racist'. I resent it, it's not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency ... My record was strong, I felt, when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And it was a disgusting moment".

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BBC APOLOGISES TO BAND AID OVER "MISLEADING" REPORT
The BBC has apologised to Band Aid over allegations stated or implied by its news programmes that money raised by the pop campaigners back in 1985 to help famine victims in Ethiopia was diverted to help anti-government groups in the country buy weapons.

The allegations started eight months ago on BBC World Service programme 'Assignment', when a BBC Africa reporter claimed that both government aid and charitable monies that were sent to Ethiopia in the mid-eighties ended up in rebel-held areas of the Tigray province and were used to buy arms. Although that report didn't actually name Band Aid, other BBC News reports about the programme's investigation suggested funds raised by the Band Aid Christmas single and Live Aid concert were among those that went to rebel forces.

Band Aid co-founder Bob Geldof rejected the claims at the time, while The Band Aid Trust made an official complaint to the Beeb. And yesterday the BBC Editorial Complaints Trust admitted there was no evidence to suggest any Band Aid or Live Aid money went to buy weapons and, while stressing that no such claim had actually been explicitly made on the BBC World Service programme, the Trust admitted that such an allegation could have been inferred by the way the story was presented, and subsequent reporting of it elsewhere in Planet BBC.

The Unit said in a statement: "'Assignment' did not make the allegation that relief aid provided by Band Aid was diverted. However the BBC acknowledges that this impression could have been taken from the programme. We also acknowledge that some of our related reporting of the story reinforced this perception". A formal apology will now be aired across the BBC's media.

Responding to the Editorial Unit's findings and the Beeb's apology, Geldof told reporters yesterday: "This was an unusual lapse in standards by the BBC. It was BBC reports from Ethiopia which prompted me to set up Band Aid in the first place. It made an important journalistic and humanitarian contribution to our whole project. But the BBC's misleading and unfair coverage on this story has done unknown damage to ordinary people's willingness to donate their hard-earned cash to disaster funds".

He continues: "The public needs to be confident that money it donates in good faith gets to the people it's intended for. And the truth is that the money spent by Band Aid over the past 26 years has been subject to meticulous auditing and independent review. So we welcome the BBC's apologies and hope they will begin to repair some of the appalling damage done. No one is saying that the BBC shouldn't make programmes scrutinising the efficacy of aid. It is fine for them to ask questions. But they have to give honest answers".

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TERRA FIRMA V CITIGROUP: SUMMING UP
So, Terra Firma v Citigroup is now in its final stages, with the jury hearing the case due to deliberate on the evidence that has been presented before them. Did US bank Citigroup mislead London-based equity firm Terra Firma into bidding too soon and too high for flagging music company EMI, because it had so much to gain from the takeover going ahead? Or did Citigroup act honestly, and is now only subject to a lawsuit because Terra Firma boss Gary 'The Guy' Hands is pissed off that his big music acquisition has gone so horribly, horribly wrong?

Legal reps for both sides summed up their arguments yesterday. For Terra Firma, David Boies again stressed that had Citigroup's David 'The Worm' Wormsley not called Gary at the last minute and lied about the intents of a rival bidder, Terra Firma would not have rushed into making an over the odds offer for EMI. "That call was so important", he told the jury. "In the absence of that, Terra Firma would not have put in a bid".

For Citigroup, Ted Wells again told the jury that this case was all about a bitter Gary Hands looking for someone to blame for his bad decision. According to the Evening Standard, he said: "We're in this courtroom because Guy Hands, back in 2007, made a bad business decision. He thought he could turn this company around where nobody else could. The problem with turning this company around is that nobody buys records. Nobody's figured out how to make money with these record companies because everything's being downloaded. He's lost hundreds of millions of dollars. He's made a mistake. Why doesn't he take responsibility for the fact he made a mistake?"

Actually, Wells' description of why EMI is flagging isn't really right, but will the jury buy his theory as to why his client is being sued by the music major's owners? A verdict is now very close. If Terra Firma lose, many reckon they'll bail on EMI, putting the future of the company back into full on jeopardy.

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TAYLOR SWIFT HITS BACK IN FORMER MANAGER LAWSUIT
As is customary, legal reps for Taylor Swift have launched a countersuit against Dan Dymtrow, the rather tedious singer's one-time manager who, as previously reported, launched his own litigation last month.

Dymtrow says he was unfairly cut out of the then fourteen year old Swift's rising career back in 2005, despite him having helped her get started as a recording artist. He says Swift's father - now her manager - conspired to cut him out of the deal when the singer signed to country indie label Big Machine.

The lawsuit came after years of squabbling between Dymtrow and Swift Senior. And now the Swift team's counter lawsuit - according to the New York Post - claims the former manager's litigation is part of a harassment campaign to force the singer and her family into making some sort of settlement payment even though, they argue, he's not contractually due anything.

Their legal papers accuse Dymtrow of using "the litigation process to attempt to harass and cause grief". Still, on the up side, perhaps Taylor could use the ordeal of her former manager's litigation as inspiration for one of her terrible songs.

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MODELS FRONTMAN DIES
The frontman of eighties Australian alt-rockers Models has committed suicide at his home in Melbourne aged 51.

James Freud had a long history of alcohol and substance abuse and, when he failed to attend an Aussie music industry event last week where his band were being inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame, his former bandmates told reporters the singer had "fallen off the bike", presumably meaning his life was dominated by drink and/or drugs once more.

Freud began his music career in the late seventies, first in a band called Teenage Radio Stars and then as a solo artist signed to Mushroom Records, before joining Models (not to be confused with short-lived UK punk band The Models) in 1982 ahead of the release of their third album.

With Freud on vocals, Models crossed over from the punk and new wave scene into the mainstream, enjoying much success in their home country, particularly with 1985 album 'Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight'. They also garnered a following in the US, though less so over here, even though they often recorded new material in the UK. INXS were big fans of the band, so much so INXS manager Chris Murphy signed them to his agency. Models split in 1988, though various reunions took place in the last decade.

Confirming Freud's death, a spokesman for Mushroom Records said this morning: "James Freud passed away this morning. James' battle with alcoholism has been well chronicled. His two books on his recovery and five years sobriety were bestsellers and gave a lot of people who were suffering the same affliction comfort and hope. Unfortunately, James has succumbed to his disease and taken his own life this morning".

Paying tribute, he added: "James was a true pioneer - he successfully crossed over from Australia's burgeoning punk scene in the early 80s, to then create some of the most played tracks in Australia's recording history. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends, the industry, and music fans everywhere. He should be remembered as one of Australia's shining lights in the music industry. His family is devastated and would appreciate privacy during this difficult time".

Freud is survived by his wife Sally, and sons Harrison and Jackson.

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COMPOSER AWARD NOMS ANNOUNCED
The British Academy of Songwriters, Composer and Authors yesterday announced the shortlists for the 2010 British Composer Awards, which celebrate classical composing types and take place in London on 30 Nov and which will be broadcast on Radio 3 the next day. Organisers seem keen to tell us that twelve of the 33 nominees are at the start of their careers, so I'm passing that on to you here before listing those noms in full, which are as follows:

Chamber: Anna Clyne - Steel Works; Howard Skempton - Only The Sound Remains; Raymond Yiu - Northwest Wind.

Choral: Judith Bingham - Actaeon His Strange New Face; Tarik O'Regan - The Night's Untruth; Sasha Siem - Psalm No. 140.

Community or Educational Project: Brian Irvine - Rain Falling Up; Karen MacIver - James Watt, A Head of Steam; James Redwood and Jack Ross - Audio Lens.

Contemporary Jazz Composition: Nathaniel Facey - Dolphyus Morphyus; James Hamilton - The Causeway Suite; Timothy Whitehead - Colour Beginnings.

Instrumental Solo or Duo: Thomas Adès - Lieux Retrouvés, Cheryl Frances-Hoad - Stolen Rhythm; Rolf Hind - A Single Hair, A Jasmine Petal, Seven Mattresses, A Pea...

International Award: Unsuk Chin - Concerto for Cello and Orchestra; Eriks Esenvalds - Légende de la Femme Emmurée; Magnus Lindberg - Graffiti.

Liturgical: Cheryl Frances-Hoad - Psalm No. 1; James MacMillan - Jubilate Deo; Cecilia McDowall - Deus, Portus Pacis.

Making Music Award: Kerry Andrew - Fall, Iain Farrington - The Burning Heavens, John McLeod - Guitar Concerto.

Orchestral: George Benjamin - Duet; Brian Elias - Doubles; Colin Matthews - Violin Concerto.

Sonic Art: Shiva Feshareki - TTKonzert, Chris Watson - Longshore Drift, John Wynne - Installation For 300 Speakers, Pianola And Vacuum Cleaner.

Stage Works: Rory Boyle - Kaspar Hauser, Julian Philips - The Yellow Sofa; Peter Wiegold - The End Of The Line.

Vocal: Sally Beamish - Divan; Michael Finnissy - The Transgressive Gospel; Ryan Wigglesworth - Augenlieder.

Wind Band or Brass Band: Gary Carpenter - Doubles; Simon Dobson - Torsion; Philip Grange - Cloud Atlas.

Commenting on the shortlists, BASCA Chairman Sarah Rodgers told CMU: "This is possibly the most dynamic and inspirational shortlist the British Composer Awards judging panels have come up with. The awards continue to play a crucial role in identifying new voices and emerging talent and truly reflect a community of creative artists where women composers feature ever more strongly".

More at www.britishcomposerawards.com

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THE DRUMS JUST FINE WITHOUT KESSLER
If you were worried/hoping that The Drums wouldn't be able to continue after the departure of guitarist Adam Kessler in September, the answer is that they will. In fact, they are better and stronger without him. That's what frontman Jonny Piece says, anyway.

Speaking to Xfm, Pierce said: "It's one of those things where victory comes through struggle and you get shaken up and you pull together and things are tighter and stronger and more potent all together and it ended up being a really good thing for us I think. We're more confident than we've ever been. I know that sounds silly but Adam leaving the band gave us some more insight into who we actually are as individuals and as a band".

He added that Kessler will still hold some influence over the band's second album: "The first song we wrote for the new album was definitely a reaction to Adam leaving. Sort of a bit of an angry song with a few emotions in there that we were feeling. We weren't really sure how we were feeling so the song might come across as slightly confused".

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KYUSS LIVES WITHOUT HOMME
Stoner rockers Kyuss are reforming. Sort of. While their guitarist Josh Homme continues to play in Queens Of The Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures and all those other things he does, the band's vocalist John Garcia, bassist Nick Oliveri and drummer Brant Bjork have formed a new band called Kyuss Lives! Guitarist Bruno Fevery will take up Homme's position.

John Garcia said: "You know, the whole reason I ever considered doing this with Brant and Nick was the feeling we all shared during Hellfest this year. To be able to play with such amazing musicians again is a dream come true for me. This will also be a huge chance for me to let everyone know about [my] Garcia Vs Garcia [solo project] which should be coming out fall of next year."

Kyuss Lives! will tour the UK next year. Here are the dates:

31 Mar: Nottingham, Rock City
1 Apr: Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall
2 Apr: London, The Forum
4 Apr: Glasgow, ABC
5 Apr: Manchester, Academy
6 Apr: Bristol, Academy

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ALBARN FORMS NEW BAND WITH TONY ALLEN
Damon Albarn has formed a new band with former Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, and some of his "favourite African musicians". Albarn previously worked with Allen, of course, in The Good, The Bad And The Queen.

Damon has told reporters that he is nearing completion of an album with "another band with Tony Allen; centred around what he does. But this time it's him and me and Flea from The Chili Peppers and some of my favourite African musicians will be involved also. Flea of course is an anagram for Fela and Flea is so into this music - so that's been great".

Albarn's a very busy chap at the moment. As well as the new band, another The Good, The Bad And The Queen album is in development, and he's already working on the next Gorillaz long player. On that he told Stuff.co.nz: "I guess it's my love letter to America. I used to be baffled by this place, and I guess I still am in some ways; America confused me enormously. But right now, with all that's going on, this is a good place to be and this has been a great tour".

Explaining his massively increased output of late, Albarn said: "I started working five days a week with a studio I've built, treating it like a nine-to-five job. I've been bringing up a family and I've been enormously productive because of not touring and having a home studio - it's really that simple".

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HURTS ANNOUNCE FIRST 2011 TOUR DATES
Hurts will support Scissors Sisters on their December UK tour, after which you'll have to wait until February to see them play live again. Just so you know.

Tour dates:

2 Feb: Brighton, Dome
3 Feb: London, Forum
4 Feb: Glasgow, ABC
6 Feb: Leeds, Academy
7 Feb: Dublin, Academy
8 Feb: Manchester, Academy

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TRASH TALK GIVE AWAY SINGLE AHEAD OF TOUR
Hardcore boys Trash Talk will be on tour in the UK later this month, and to celebrate the band are giving away a free download of their new single, 'Eyes & Nines', which is due out on 15 Nov.

The download also comes with a cut-out stencil, which you can use to decorate, um, other sheets of paper, or something. I'm sure the band would be appalled if they learned you'd been using it to spray paint their logo all over town.

Get the download here.

Tour dates:

18 Nov: Birmingham, Institute
19 Nov: Glasgow, Captain's Rest
20 Nov: Manchester, Moho Live
21 Nov: Exeter, The Cavern
22 Nov: London, Barfly

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DEATHRAY TREBUCHAY ALBUM LAUNCH NEXT WEEK
Deathray Trebuchay have announced details of their album launch show with till take place at The Nest (formerly Barden's Boudoir) in London next week. They will play alongside Drums Of Death, Jam City and Royce Rolls, while the whole night will have a Mexican Day Of The Dead carnival theme.

Of the album, the band's Llywelyn ap Myrddin told CMU: "The album is called 'The Idiot' and although we are best known for being the sort of band who can rock a party this album shows our more serious side, the stuff that can fall behind in the whirl of drinking and moshing that makes up one of our gigs. We used a picture as inspiration for each track, for example the opening track 'HAKA' is a war chant so we had a picture of Cossack warriors and for 'Team Samba' we had a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger hanging out in Rio. Search on YouTube for 'Arnold in Rio', you won't regret it".

The show takes place on Wednesday 10 Nov. Tickets are available from here.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Andrew Bird - Useless Creatures (Cooperative Music/Bella Union)
The instrumental album 'Useless Creatures' was originally released as a bonus disc on the limited edition version of Andrew Bird's 2009 LP 'Noble Beast'.

It is utterly something special, I can't stress this enough. Only when I saw Bird perform live for the first time last year did I realise just how excellent a musician this man really is, on top of his huge skills as a songwriter. And, for me, it is this album that fully demonstrates this fact on record. Sure, the jaunty whistles and tongue-clicks are on show, stamps that ultimately mark this as quintessentially "Andrew Bird", but the composition on offer here goes to a whole new level.

It must have been daunting for Bird to take the instrumental route, given the effort he clearly puts into the words in his other songs, where the lyrics always tell rich and vivid stories. Though, despite the lack of words, you sense there is a story being told here too, while the atmosphere created makes this more exciting than anything else I've heard Bird create.

'You Woke Me Up!' is subtly dramatic, building up like a lost scene from 'Fantasia' - you can picture the life of a caterpillar from chrysalis to butterfly. 'The Barn Tapes' is weird and wonderful, while 'Carrion Suite', like 'Dissent', is melancholic, a powerful piece of music that actually hurts a little to listen to. 'Useless Creatures' is utterly compelling in its ability to tell stories without the need for spoken word. It's experimental and bewitching, utterly eccentric and fantastical, antiquated without the gathering dust of unread books.

Physical release: 25 Oct
Press contact: Cooperative Music IH

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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90 SECOND PREVIEWS COMING TO ITUNES US
The long rumoured development at the iTunes Music Store that will see preview clips on the platform, which are currently 30 seconds in length, extended to 90 seconds, looks like its about to go live, albeit initially in the US only.

It's been known for a while that Apple has been pushing record labels and collecting societies to let it make longer preview clips available without having to incur any new royalty charges. And according to the blog of digital distribution company Symphonic Distribution, that is now set to happen.

The company quotes a letter from Apple that says: "We are pleased to let you know that we are preparing to increase the length of music previews from 30 seconds to 90 seconds on the iTunes Store in the United States. We believe that giving potential customers more time to listen to your music will lead to more purchases".

Whether a 90 second clip is really any more help to most consumers than a 30 second clip is debatable, especially in territories where Spotify operates (surely most people would prefer to preview a track in full on there a few times before deciding to buy), but if it makes Team Apple happy, I don't see any reason why labels and publishers shouldn't let them extend their previews.

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THREE-STRIKES STILL ON AGENDA IN NEW ZEALAND, THOUGH STRIKE THREE HAS BEEN POSTPONED FOR TWO YEARS
New Zealand's attempts to introduce a three-strikes system continue, though with a new set back for those who advocate the launch of such an anti-piracy procedure in the country.

As previously reported, New Zealand actually initially put three-strikes on the statute book before France and the UK, but with very little consideration as to how it might work. Politicians, content owners and ISPs have since been reviewing the whole thing.

Now the country's Parliament Commerce Committee has reported back on a new bit of proposed legislation called the Copyright Infringing File Sharing Bill which aims to set out the process for a working three-strikes system. Following the report, the bill will now go back to parliament for a second reading.

According to TorrentFreak, the Commerce Committee report suggests launching the warning letter part of the three-strikes system now, but waiting to see what impact that has on file-sharing levels in the country before properly instigating any net disconnection process.

Obviously in three-strikes losing internet access is the threat that sits behind warning letters urging illegal file-sharers to stop accessing content from unlicensed sources. But, under the new proposals, it could be two years before the more draconian part of three-strikes starts in New Zealand.

The report's conclusion to hold off on net disconnections was welcomed by trade body InternetNZ, whose CEO Vikram Kumar told reporters: "I am pleased that the Committee has recommended that account suspension not be introduced now. We would have preferred no remedy of account suspension being included in the legislation. The decision to leave it in but not commence its application is a second best option, but is far better than the current law, and better than the initial draft".

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MOTÖRHEAD TO RELEASE ALBUM WITH CLASSIC ROCK SPECIAL
Motörhead have announced that they will release their new album, 'The Wörld Is Yours', with a special edition of Classic Rock magazine next month.

Following on from a similar bundle for Slash's solo album earlier this year, which sold 30,000 copies, 'Classic Rock Presents... Motörhead' will hit newsagents on 14 Dec, featuring a 132 page magazine focussed on the band along with the album itself. It'll retail for £14.99.

The album will then go on general release, without the magazine, on 17 Jan.

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CABLE EXPECTED TO HAND NEWS CORP'S SKY TAKEOVER PLANS TO OFCOM FOR REVIEW
Business Secretary Vince Cable is expected to hand previously reported plans by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to take complete ownership of BSkyB to the media regulator OfCom today, and ask them to assess the public interest implications of the owner of The Times and The Sun also owning the Sky network and channels outright.

There has been increasing pressure on Cable from New Corp's competitors, including the BBC, not to mention MPs in both his own party and the Labour Party, to block News Corp's Sky ownership ambitions, though it is thought Murdoch's cosy relationship with the Conservatives could hinder any attempts to ultimately stop the News Corp takeover, even if Cable himself wanted to.

Cable is likely to instigate an OfCom investigation today following formal confirmation from News Corp to the European Commission that it had made a bid for the 61% of BSkyB not currently in its possession.

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RIHANNA TO TURN ON WESTFIELD CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Rihanna will be at the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush, West London at 6.30pm tonight to switch on the Christmas lights there.

I hope Rihanna is aware of the strict 'no animals' rule at Westfield. Mariah Carey was disappointed last year when organisers refused to adhere to her demands to have 20 white kittens with her as she pushed the button.

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JAY-Z DISCUSSES HAMMER BEEF
Following the release of MC Hammer's "official Jay-Z diss", 'Better Better Run', earlier this week, Jay-Z gave his reaction to the track in an interview that will air on DJ Semtex's 1Xtra show this Friday.

As previously reported, Hammer took offence to Jay-Z's contribution to Kanye West's track, 'So Appalled', in which he raps: "And Hammer went broke so you know I'm more focused. I lost 30 mil so I spent another 30, cause unlike Hammer 30 million can't hurt me".

On Monday, Hammer uploaded the video for 'Better Better Run' to YouTube. The track sees Hammer accuse Jay-Z of being a devil worshipper, while the video show's Jay being chased by the devil before getting baptised by Hammer. It's amazing, look.

Speaking to Semtex, Jay-Z said he wasn't aware that discussing Hammer's past money troubles was off limits as a subject. He said: "I didn't know I was the first person to ever say that. Am I? I mean... I'm not, am I? I know I've heard that before. I didn't know I was the first one to say it. I guess when I say things people believe me so much that they take it a different way, it's not rap any more at that point. Now it's like it's a personal attack".

He added that in his forthcoming book he's written about his respect for Hammer: "He's gonna be embarrassed. I said some really great things about him in the book and about people's perception of him. I said really great things about him. But, whatever, it is what it is. He took it the wrong way, I didn't know it wasn't on the table for discussion. I didn't know I said anything wrong. I don't know if I said a lie".

Asked if he was planning to respond with his own diss song, he said: "No, of course not".

Spoilsport.

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