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Jobs & Training Courses
CMU Info
Top Stories
US regulators reviewing Apple's new app subscriptions policy
Warner to start considering bids this week
In The Pop Courts
Britney may be sued over Hold It Against Me
Awards & Contests
Win a chance to play at Liverpool Sound City with Sentric Music
Charts, Stats & Polls
BRITs fever helps Adele score four top five placements
Gaga has fastest selling iTunes track ever
Quarter of musicians have lost instrument
Artist Deals
Rick Ross does distribution deal with Warner for his label
Release News
New Gold Panda
Gigs & Tours News
Rusko tour
Visions Of Trees announce UK tour
Festival News
Festival line-up update
The Music Business
UK Music welcome business select committee report
The Digital Business
Vevo goes sporty
The Media Business
Vaizey assures MPs – no rush to DAB if public not ready
Might X-Factor have all new judges this year?
And finally...
Rufus Wainwright is a dad
There'll be a bit of a wait for any new Blur

Hello. Have you all spent the weekend listening to the new Radiohead album? I haven't heard it yet. Sorry to shatter the illusion that my finger is anywhere near the pulse. I wasn't going to bother at all, though I think I've been convinced now to give it a go. Even though in a month's time it will probably be languishing with 'In Rainbows' dark recesses of iTunes on my Mac, never to be played again. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it is brilliant, but I know I'm going to struggle not to compare all of the tracks on it to 'Idioteque'. That's where they peaked, for me. But I should at least have a listen, eh? So, there you go, I've now been gloomy about the major event of last week, how about I get a bit more cheery in order to tell you about some stuff that's going to happen this week.

01: NME Awards. The midweek alcohol endurance test that is the NME Awards takes place this Wednesday. Many will attend, few will survive. And along the way some awards will be handed out; most excitingly PJ Harvey will be picking up the Outstanding Contribution prize and Dave Grohl will receive the Godike Genius trophy. Both will perform (Grohl with Foo Fighters, of course), which will more than make up for Paul Weller's set last year. Elsewhere, Foals and Arcade Fire lead the nominations with four nods each. Who?

02: UnConvention Factory. The UnConvention guys are staging another one of their UnConvention Factory events in London this Saturday, in which an impressive bunch of artists, producers and music industry types will collaborate to make and release an entire album from scratch in ten hours. The album will be based on The Clash's seminal long player 'London Calling'. There will also be a number of panels and workshops with input from the likes of Jagz Kooner, John Robb and more.

03: AIM sync rights masterclass. The Association Of Independent Music's annual sync rights masterclass event will take place this Thursday in London. First up, Daniel Cross, Global Music Manager for Adidas and a founder of music consultancy Record Play, will chatter about brand partnerships in general. Then a panel of experts will discuss how independent artists and labels can operate in the sync rights space, with Domino Records sync chief Lynden Campbell plus a number of music supervisors from the TV, gaming, film and advertising sectors on hand to offer advice. More information at www.musicindie.com.

04: New releases. Some choice morsels for you this week. Most excitingly, Jamie xx's remixed version of Gil Scott-Heron's 'I'm New Here' album (retitled 'We're New Here'), hits stores. It's joined on the shelves by Yuck's eponymous debut, which leads the burgeoning grunge revival, and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker's debut solo album, 'Give The Drummer Some'. There are a couple of singles you should get, namely 'Hauntin Me' by my new love Keep Shelly In Athens and 'Go Outside' by Cults. And if you like reading stuff, Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch's collected diaries, 'The Celestial Café', gets its official release this week (despite being available for ages).

05: Gigs. Shitting heck, there are a great deal of very, very good musical acts playing live this week. I'm excited. Let's get The Streets out of the way first, as Mike Skinner actually kicked off his retirement tour last Friday. Not retiring, but very much in the country will be the amazing Janelle Monáe, Efterklang will be performing live and screening their new film 'An Island', Dananananaykroyd are touring, and Venetian Snares, Glasser, Cults and Lia Ices are all in London. Plus, on Thursday, you have a choice between the hotly tipped Frontiers supporting Spectrals at the Bull & Gate, and The Quietus and The Stool Pigeon-curated edition of the always excellent Nordic music showcase night Ja Ja Ja at The Lextington.

Don't forget, you can hear my actual voice saying actual words on the CMU podcast. I realise that may not be to everyone's taste, but luckily Chris Cooke is on hand to say other words so that it's not just me for the full half hour. I'm really selling this, aren't I?

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Andy Malt
Editor, CMU
CMU favourite Emika has announced release details for new track 'Count Backwards', which features a characteristically frail, saccharine vocal turn resting atop a dubby tangle of beats and bleeps. This, her third single for Ninja Tune, is due for release on twelve-inch and through all download stores on 11 Apr, or you can download it from iTunes right now.

Emika says of the single: "'Count Backwards' is the story of an over-fed yet undernourished soul in search of a little peace and quiet. In times of stress, you can count your date of birth backwards or spell your birth month backwards and the logical side of the mind is kicked into action, resulting in a feeling of calm. Counting backwards is a coping mechanism in overwhelming moments of panic. The song is inspired by my best friend from my teenage years. She was a lot older than me and was in therapy. She told me about how our brain works and how it connects thoughts, feelings and creativity. This was the first moment in my life where I became aware of my own creativity".

The video for 'Count Backwards' is split into two parts, the first showing Emika literally dreaming it up, the second what fills her mind while she's asleep. Both parts can be watched at the link below.


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It is thought the US Department Of Justice has begun a preliminary inquiry into Apple's announcement last week that it will force content providers who offer subscription-based services via an iPhone or iPad app to accept regular subscription fees through their App Store in addition to any existing payment system said provider may already be using.

Apple will charge a 30% commission on any payments made through its store, which is enough to throw the budgets of most streaming music platforms currently offering an iPhone service totally off-kilter, given most operate on very tight profit margins once they have paid license fees to record companies and music publishers and covered bandwidth costs.

US music provider Rhapsody was most critical of the announcement, and admitted it was consulting its lawyers as to whether Apple's new policy breaches American anti-trust laws. You could argue the IT giant is able to force arguably unfair terms onto content service providers because if they refuse to comply they'll have to withdraw from the iPhone and iPad completely, cutting themselves off from a sizable slice of the market.

According to various reports, officials at the US Department Of Justice have approached both affected content providers and Apple to discuss the IT giant's new system. Whether that will lead to a fuller investigation remains to be seen, probably not. More likely it would require one affected party or another to launch an anti-trust action. Given the costs of doing so and the uncertain conclusion of any such action, presumably affected content owners will continue to negotiate with Apple for better terms first before taking any major legal action.

In Europe, according to Billboard, a European Commission spokeswoman confirmed that competition officials there were monitoring the situation, but added that no formal inquiry is likely just yet as some feel the apps market is too new for regulators to form opinions on market dominance and the alleged abuse thereof, especially given the rise of the Android platform in the smartphones market and the recent launch of various iPad rivals.

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Management at Warner Music will reportedly start accepting formal offers for some or all of the music major this week. As previously reported, over 20 parties have apparently approached bankers Goldman Sachs who were brought in to review options for Warner's current shareholders.

It is thought Warner's current owners will consider all out takeover proposals, as well as bids for publishing firm Warner/Chappell. If the latter deal was to be done, the proceeds might be used to buy some of EMI when that is put up for sale later this year.

BMG backer KKR is still one of the favourites to bid, while the also recently acquisitive music publishing firm Imagem may also make an offer, particularly for Warner/Chappell.

Another name being tipped this weekend was Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik, whose US-based conglomerate Access Industries is already significant shareholder in the Warner Music Group. There is speculation Blavatnik might move to take complete ownership of the whole company, or of the publishing bit.

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Britney Spears may be facing a lawsuit from American country rock duo the Bellamy Brothers over her recent single 'Hold It Against Me' which they reckon possible plagiarises their 1979 tune 'If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me?'

I think it's mainly the similar names that are behind this claim, though if that is the case, it would make this whole lawsuit sound a bit silly.

One of the Brothers, David Bellamy, previously said he wouldn't be taking legal action despite his opinion Britney's song was "too close" to his, but he's seemingly changed his mind. He was quoted as saying this weekend: "We will without doubt take the appropriate legal action if our attorneys agree we've been ripped off. Surely there is more original stuff out there to do rather than rehash old titles".

A spokesperson for Spears told reporters: "If this is now a legal matter then I am afraid we would have nothing to say until our lawyers have been alerted".

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Sentric Music is offering new artists (without a publishing or record deal) a chance to play at this year's Liverpool Sound City festival which, as previously reported, will once again take over venues across the Merseyside city from 19-21 May.

Acts wishing to enter need only to sign up to Sentric's royalty collection and sync service, which is simple and free to do. The closing date for the competition is 22 Apr, with winners due to be announced on 29 Apr.

Sound City organisers will select three winners to support a mystery headliner at the Heebie Jeebies Basement on 20 May, whilst one lucky act will also be chosen to open for recently-reformed local legends Cast at their special Liverpool Catholic Cathedral Crypt show on 21 May.

Visit the website to sign up or for more info: www.sentricmusic.com

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Adele's new single 'Someone Like You' has topped the singles chart, helped in part by her live version of it at the BRIT Awards last Tuesday, which was then also put up for sale on iTunes. On the Apple store the two versions are listed separately, with the live version at number one someway ahead of the original single version at seven. But the main charts lumped sales of both versions together, presumably giving her an assured lead over all the other single releases this week.

Post-BRITS Adele fever has helped keep her album, '21', at the top of the albums chart, while also sending her debut album '19' back up to number four and her last single 'Rolling In The Deep' to the same position in the singles chart. Pointless chart trivia fans may be interested to know this is the first time a living artist has had two releases in both the top five album and singles charts in the same week since The Beatles in 1964. The use of the word "living" in that fact (supplied to us by the Official Charts Company) makes me think Elvis or someone may also have achieved something similar posthumously.

In related news, the OCC has confirmed that downloads of all of the various BRITS performance have together sold 90,000 units since last Tuesday night, meanwhile the BRIT Awards 2011 collection topped the compilations chart this week. So you see, everyone may have been watching gypsies on Channel 4 on Tuesday night itself, but there was a little bit of BRIT fever during the rest of the week.

Chart Company supremo Martin Talbot told CMU: "It is a fantastic week for both Adele and the BRITs. For Adele to match a record of the Beatles is an extraordinary, historic achievement. The BRITs has truly impacted on the music market this year, across the seven live performance downloads and in the album sales of both performers and winners".

The boss of BRITS organisers the BPI, meanwhile, that being Geoff Taylor, added: "This year's BRITs showed that Britain continues to shine brightly with new musical talent. Adele's breathtaking performance has deservedly taken her to number one, and all the winners and performers have seen a boost in sales. This is good news for the business, but also for good causes, as all proceeds from the BRITs performances go to charity for the first month".

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More chart-style stats for you, and Lady Gaga's recent Madonna-aping singlette release has been declared the fastest selling single on iTunes ever, since the very dawn of time itself. 'Born This 'Way' was downloaded over a million times via the Apple store in just five days, sending the song to number one in iTunes charts in all 23 countries where the download platform operates.

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A quarter of musicians have lost or had their instruments stolen, yet less than half bother to take out insurance. The message there, I think, is that if you play music for a living it might be worth insuring your kit. Though this stat has come to us via an insurance firm, so make of that what you will.

The top reason for artists being parted from their instruments is theft from a vehicle, though accidentally leaving a guitar or whatever at a venue, in a hotel or on the train are also given as reasons. Perhaps musicians could just be less forgetful.

Anyway, here's what Robin Stagg of insurers Allianz has to say: "Musicians are often leading busy lives attending performances and gigs, and as our research shows, there are occasions when instruments are lost or stolen. Whether you're a parent buying an instrument for your child, learning to play or a serious musician it is important that you consider the financial protection that you have in place for your instrument".

He added: "Our research also showed that of those musicians who do have insurance cover for their instrument, 69% cited the 'reassurance of financial protection' as really important to them. Specialist musical instrument insurance can provide them with this peace of mind and protection for their instrument when they are outside of their home".

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Warner Music may be owned by pixies from Bermuda by the end of the week, but that hasn't stopped American rapper Rick Ross from inking a deal with the major to distribute the output of his Maybach Music label.

Ross, who himself is signed to Universal's Def Jam for his own releases, announced he had signed a new distribution deal for Maybach with Warner via Twitter on Saturday.

Recent signings to Ross's label include rappers Wale and Meek Mill.

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London-based electronica type Gold Panda will be making a new track, called 'Marriage', available for download via Notown on 1 Mar, with a special limited edition twelve-inch then going on sale via Record Store Day shops on 16 Apr. It is the third single from his album 'Lucky Shiner'.

You can see the video for the song here - youtu.be/ZAvTo-yVf28 - and then watch him do it live and like at XOYO in east London on 1 Mar.

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Dubstepper Rusko will have a new single out on 4 Apr. The two new tracks are called 'Everyday' and 'Lick The Lizard'. I'm guessing you'll get to hear both at these gigs in March:

4 Mar: Oxford Academy
5 Mar: Bristol, Shit The Bed
9 Mar: Leicester, Auditorium
10 Mar: Plymouth University
12 Mar: Birmingham Institute
15 Mar: Sheffield Tuesday Club
16 Mar: Belfast, Shine
17 Mar: London, Fabric
18 Mar: Leeds, Stylus
18 Mar: Newcastle, Digital

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Having supported the likes of Sleigh Bells and Mount Kimbie on tour, London duo Visions Of Trees have finally earned some headline dates where they can sing the breathy pop of their debut single 'Sometimes It Kills', which was released on Moshi Moshi earlier this month to glowing reviews.

They are also giving away a couple of tracks, which you can download for free here: soundcloud.com/visionsoftrees/sets/visions-of-trees-2/

Tour dates:

19 Feb: Leeds, Nation of Shopkeepers
21 Feb: Manchester, Deaf Institute
24 Feb: Sheffield, Bungalows and Bears
25 Feb: Bristol, Start The Bus
26 Feb: Brighton, Coalition
3 Mar: London, The Macbeth

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INMUSIC FESTIVAL, Lake Jarun, Zagreb, Croatia, 21-22 Jun: Having conquered the recent BRIT and Grammy Awards, Arcade Fire have confirmed that they will head up proceedings at this lakeside Croatian festival, which is sponsored by T-mobile. Nick Cave and his grizzled band Grinderman are also standing by as co-headliners. www.t-mobileinmusicfestival.com/en

LIVE AT LEEDS, various venues, Leeds, 29 Apr - 1 May: Gloomy Glaswegians Glasvegas are to appear on the Sunday at Leeds Met University, whilst minimalist dub crooner James Blake will be joined on the Saturday by The Futureheads, Frightened Rabbit, Fight Like Apes, The Films and Let's Buy Happiness. Also fresh on the bill are Sissy And The Blisters, Saint Saviour, Paper Crows, Star Slinger and more. www.liveatleeds.com

MELT!, Gräfenhainichen, Dessau, Germany, 15-17 Jul: Bringing their programme to half-full with a recent raft of additions, festival co-ordinators have announced that Brit rockers White Lies and Everything Everything, as well as Calvin Harris, Metronomy, The Naked & Famous, Katy B, Junip, Les Savy Fav and Gold Panda will appear on the Melt! bill this year. Acts already confirmed to play include The Streets, Pulp and Robyn. www.meltfestival.de/en

RHYTHM FESTIVAL, Old Warden Park, Bedfordshire, 26-28 Aug: Ska legends Toots & The Maytals are newly-booked to perform at this Bank Holiday bash, alongside acts including Steve Cropper & The Animals, The Blockheads and From The Jam. www.rhythmfestival.com

ROCK WERCHTER, Rotselaar, Belgium, 30 Jun - 3 Jul: Fleet Foxes add another notch to their festival belts with the announcement that they will play this Belgian festival, with Underworld, Bright Eyes, Hurts, Magnetic Man, Lissie, Noisettes, Mona and Triggerfinger completing the latest spate of confirmed artistes. Existing prime acts such as Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Kings Of Leon and Iron Maiden make up just a portion of what is to be a colossal line-up. www.rockwerchter.be/en/

WYCHWOOD, Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire, 3-5 Jun: Organisers have revealed that Saturday's headliners of this family-friendly festival are to be Celtic folk icons The Waterboys, with 90s indie types Cornershop bringing a 'Brimful Of Asher' to Friday's running. Transglobal Underground, The Travelling Band and Idlewild's Roddy Woomble are also set to play, while Justin Fletcher aka CBeebies character Mr Tumble will delight children everywhere with a whimsical performance. He joins such already-announced acts as The Charlatans, Robyn Hitchcock and Ian Anderson, who will play a set of classic Jethro Tull hits. www.wychwoodfestival.com

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Cross-sector trade body UK Music last week welcomed a report from parliament's Business, Innovations And Skills Select Committee which criticised the government for the way it engages with and supports the creative industries. The select committee also proposed the creation of a creative industry council and requested that the government move to ensure creative companies can benefit from the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, which reduces the risks to banks who provide loans to SME businesses. Both these recommendations please UK Music because they were both included in their own previously reported Liberating Creativity report, published last year.

On the potential for a creative industries council, the select committee's report said: "The creative industries sector is a significant wealth creator in the United Kingdom. It is therefore surprising that government engagement with the sector appears to be somewhat haphazard. While we welcome the creation of an ad hoc ministerial committee to cover the sector we believe that a more structured approach would be more beneficial. Industrial councils have been established for the automotive, aerospace and marine sectors and we recommend that the department consider establishing a similar council for the creative industries".

While on the loan guarantee programme, it said: "The Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme should be available to all sectors of the economy. It is therefore unacceptable that the creative industries sector - which is one of the six sectors designated by the Government as growth sectors - is effectively being excluded from this avenue of funding. We recommend that the government, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the criteria for receiving EFG funding is sufficiently flexible to accommodate the creative industries. We expect the government, in its response to this report, to set out clearly how it will achieve this aim".

Welcoming all of this, UK Music top man Feargal Sharkey told CMU: "Music generates revenues of nearly £4 billion a year for this country. It sustains an estimated 100,000 jobs. And, vitally, it is a driver of economic growth in terms of tourism, in terms of a host of ancillary businesses and in terms of the digital economy. I am delighted that the Select Committee has recognised our potential, and particularly the need for the music industry to be treated as 'an industry'. Like all other sectors of the economy, we need coordinated policy-making and our creators and investors require access to finance and support".

He added: "In terms of talent and entrepreneurialism, the UK is already globally-renowned. Our artists and composers consistently deliver the kind of high quality content that the whole world demands. With support from the Department Of Business, now commonly referred to as the 'Department Of Growth', I am positive we can deliver even more benefit for UK plc".

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Some people like both sport and music you know, as crazy as that might seem. And with that in mind Sony and Universal's YouTube-powered music video service VEVO is launching some bespoke content in the US called Artists vs Athletes which will see sportsman who play for America's NBA basketball league interviewing musicians.

The specifics are tbc, though we do know Landy Fields of the New York Knicks will interview Def Jam signed rapper Fabolous. It is also thought the series of interviews will be made available via VEVO around the NBA playoffs in April and May, while talks are underway that might see US TV network TNT air edited versions of the sport-meets-music videos during their NBA coverage.

Although initially focused on basketball, if successful it is thought VEVO hope to create similar content involving other sports. It is thought that as well as providing a good promotional tool for the video service, VEVO hope their sporty content will be attractive to brands, creating sponsorship revenue for them, their music company partners and participating sports organisations.

VEVO is expected to launch in the UK this spring. No word on whether there'll be any 'sportsman interview artists' here. Perhaps Ashley Cole could interview Cheryl Cole. I'd tune into that.

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Broadcasting Minister Ed Vaizey seemingly confirmed to a group of MPs last week that the FM waveband isn't going to be turned off in the imminent future, assuring concerned parliamentarians that the radio frequency will be operational for "years to come".

20 MPs met with Vaizey to express concerns raised by smaller radio firms - including the aim to move most stations off FM to the DAB network by 2015, and a recent decision by media regulator OfCom to limit all renewed local radio licences to just seven years.

At the meeting Vaizey said that the 2015 switchover date from FM to DAB would only happen if the radio listening public were ready, and that the FM network will stay in operation after that date whatever.

We already knew that, unlike with the move from analogue to digital TV, analogue radio signals are unlikely to be turned off immediately even once most stations have moved to DAB, if only because the digital network isn't ready to take all stations in all parts of the country. Indeed it's been indicated that more community and student stations may be offered FM licences once the big commercial broadcasters have moved exclusively to DAB, with the hope the makers of DAB radios will ensure their devices continue to also receive FM.

The broadcast minister also told the MPs he met that he'd ask OfCom to review its new seven year licence policy.

The meeting was welcomed by the boss of UKRD, William Rogers, the most vocal opponent to the 2015 move to DAB. Rogers told Radio Today: "That the Minister has confirmed that FM will remain for years to come, especially for those stations with no DAB future, is of course welcome, but what is also really helpful, and something we should all welcome as an industry was his open and constructive response to the questions raised by MPs to review the length of licences for local commercial stations which were in effect cut from twelve to seven years in the latest OfCom review".

He continued: "MPs were encouraged to make representations on this matter and, indeed, to even propose a policy position in this respect and we will be working with them over the coming months to ensure that this issue remains firmly on the government's agenda of things that need to be looked at again. We need a dynamic and vibrant local radio sector with a bright and genuinely multi-platform digital future. Of course DAB is one of many such platforms but the prescriptive, poorly planned and inappropriate imposition of this single platform simply gets in the way of what consumer choice is all about".

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There was more speculation this weekend that both Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole will be missing from the next UK series of 'X-Factor', as both commit to judging roles on the new American version of the show.

Louis Walsh had previously indicated both Cowell and Cole would be appearing on 'X-Factor USA' and therefore not have time to judge on the UK programme, though it is thought ITV bosses are eager to not lose two judges in one go and negotiations are therefore ongoing.

The latest tabloid speculation, though, is that Walsh might not get a look in either. The News Of The World says that, facing the prospect of losing half of their judges, ITV bosses are thinking about a dramatic relaunch of the UK version of 'X' with a totally new judging panel.

Word has it Robbie Williams and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who filled in for Cole when she was off ill last series, have both been approached about judging roles. As auditions are due to kick off next month, presumably ITV are hoping to have their two or four new judges in place soon.

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Rufus Wainwright is a father, he announced yesterday. The mother is Lorca Cohen, daughter of Leonard Cohen. She gave birth to Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen on 2 Feb, with Rufus revealing all this via Twitter yesterday. The gay star referred to his partner Jorn Weisbrodt as "deputy dad" in his message.

He tweeted: "Darling daughter Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen was born on 2 Feb 2011 in Los Angeles, California to parents Lorca Cohen, Rufus Wainwright and Deputy Dad Jorn Weisbrodt. The little angel is evidently healthy, presumably happy and certainly very, very beautiful".

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Graham Coxon has dismissed speculation that new Blur material is in the offing. Said speculation seemingly came about from his recent tweet "now off to see the Blur boys and have a coffee and maybe switch a tape recorder on".

Interpreting that as confirmation a new Blur record is in development was probably rather optimistic. He has now clarified to the NME: "Every now and then we like to meet up and record a few things. Maybe turning the tape recorder on and jamming around a few ideas. I suppose it might turn into an LP in six years or something. We just do stuff when we feel like it".

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Arcade Fire

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