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FRIDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2011
TODAY'S FEATURE: MUSIC BUSINESS WEEK IN FIVE
Time to review the music business week once again. Actually, it's not been an especially eventful week, has it? I think everyone was too occupied with the sunshine to be eventful. Or perhaps with the tech industry a flurry post Facebook's big announcement last week, and with Amazon's move into the tablet market, the music business decided it would be polite to keep quiet. Anyway, some stuff did happen more>>
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: 20 YEARS OF SOMA AT FABRIC
Can Glasgow's Soma Quality Recordings really be 20 years old? Well, it is, and the team behind it will be jetting down south of the border tomorrow night to take over two rooms at Fabric to celebrate that landmark, and the launch of a 20 years anniversary compilation. There's a great line-up to mark a big anniversary of a smashing label that's been championing great techno and house music more>>
TOP STORIES
- Doctor hid vials and saline bags: Murray trial update
- LA Reid regrets dropping Gaga
IN THE POP COURTS
- TI back on the streets
OBITUARIES
- Sugar Hill Records' Sylvia Robinson dies
AWARDS & CONTESTS
- DMAs presented
RELEASE NEWS
- Take That to release live Progress DVD
BOOKS NEWS
- Courtney Love to write autobiography
GIGS & TOURS NEWS
- Tru Thoughts announces London showcase
- Dananananaykroyd are no more
BRANDS & STUFF
- Toyota looks to step up music partnerships platform in 2012
THE MUSIC BUSINESS
- Peermusic promotes UK chief to European role
- Edwyn Collins launches label
- EMMS Publicity celebrates tenth anniversary
THE DIGITAL BUSINESS
- MySpace owner lays off staff
- Spotify adds private listening option
THE MEDIA BUSNESS
- Absolute to air multiple Frank Skinner shows with different music
AND FINALLY...
- James Blake not a fan of US fratstep
- Beef of the week: Bloc Party v Bloc Party
9PR, PUBLICIST
Rapidly expanding leading music publicists 9PR are recruiting. We have an excellent and growing roster of artists and events that includes All Tomorrow's Parties, Submotion Orchestra, Chapter 24, Kraftwerk, Camille, Ali Renault, NOVAK 3D Disco, American Express Symphony At The Park, Brian Olive, White Noise Sound, Union Square Music, Thomas Dolby, Lanie Lane, plus Sony catalogue (including Miles Davis, Iggy And The Stooges, Johnny Cash and Santana). We need someone with a minimum of two years experience in national print PR. Radio and/or online experience is an advantage and depending on the right candidate, the role is adaptable. Salary subject to experience. Email info@9pr.co.uk.
   
OUTPOST, ACCOUNT MANAGER
PR Superstar required for busy PR agency, Outpost. Minimum two years PR experience in printed press. Radio and/or online experience an advantage. Salary £20k - £24k + bonus

Fast growing music PR agency is looking for a sharp Account Manager who loves PR and takes pride in doing a Superstar job. You will require an encyclopaedic music knowledge, a passion for clubs and gigs and be obsessed with popular youth culture. Social networking will be second nature, fitting in perfectly alongside your bulging contact book. You must also have exceptional writing ability. Superb training and support provided. You will take ownership of your job and be generously rewarded for the quality and reliability of your work.

Telephone calls only in the first instance - call between 10.15am and 2.30pm, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and tell me why on earth we would be MAD not to take you on for this position. Call David Silverman @ Outpost (outpostmedia.co.uk) on 020 7684 5634.
   
DOMINO RECORDING COMPANY, INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS MANAGER
Domino is seeking an experienced International Promotions Manager who would be responsible for all aspects of international promotion - including press, radio and TV - for the whole of the label roster (including Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Anna Calvi, The Kills and John Cale) and working closely with our international partners around the world. Minimum two years experience with artists, managers, record labels and international media is required. The position is based in our London office.

Applicants should send a CV and cover letter to: internationalpromotions@dominorecordco.com Closing date is 10 Oct.

DOCTOR HID VIALS AND SALINE BAGS: MURRAY TRIAL UPDATE
Conrad Murray asked Michael Jackson's bodyguard to grab vials of medicine and a saline bag, and to place them in another bag, as the late king of pop lay dying. Or so says the bodyguard in question, Alberto Alvarez, who testified on day three of the Murray trial in LA yesterday.

Alvarez told the court how he was in Jackson's bedroom as Murray, the singer's personal doctor, tried to resuscitate his patient. According to Reuters, he testified that: "While I was standing at the foot of the bed he [Murray] reached over and grabbed a handful of vials and then he said: 'Here put them in a bag'". Murray then took saline bags off an IV stand that contained a "milky white substance", believed to be propofol, the drug that killed the singer in June 2009.

The prosecution, of course, claim that Murray negligently administered that drug, usually used in a hospital environment as a general anaesthetic, but used by Jackson as a sleeping aid. They also allege that Murray, presumably realising that he had been using surgical drugs in an inappropriate environment, tried to cover his tracks as his patient was dying, and in doing so delayed the call to emergency services.

Alvarez, one of the first people on the scene after Jackson's "bad reaction" to the concoction of drugs he was using to induce sleep, described what he saw. "[Jackson] was laying on his back, with his hands extended out ... his eyes were slightly open and his mouth was open". The singer's eldest two children followed Alvarez into the room and witnessed their father dying - a chef who had worked for Jackson, and who testified later in the day, suggested it was a frantic Murray who had asked for eldest son Prince to come to his father's room. On Wednesday another security guard told the court how he had then removed the children from the bedroom once he realised what was occurring.

Alvarez added that he saw an IV stand, oxygen tubing and a device attacked to Jackson's penis, apparently used to collect urine while a person is in a deep sleep. But, he said, there was no equipment monitoring the heart, blood pressure or anything else, something which the prosecution presumably reckon Murray should have been using if he was administering a drug like propofol.

Asked why he helped Murray clear away drugs rather than calling the emergency services, Alvarez added: "I believe that Dr Murray had the best intentions for Mr Jackson, so I didn't question his authority at the time. I thought we were packing to get him ready to go to the hospital". It was Alvarez who did eventually call for an ambulance, over 20 minutes after Murray had first found Jackson was not breathing. The 911 call was played to the court as the bodyguard gave his testimony.

As previously reported, Murray's defence will argue that, unbeknownst to the doctor, Jackson fed himself the drugs that caused his untimely demise.

The case continues.

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LA REID REGRETS DROPPING GAGA
One time Universal exec, now Sony man and 'X-Factor USA' judge, LA Reid has admitted that dropping Lady Gaga from his label was the "worst thing" he'd ever done in his music business career. Reid signed Gaga to his Island Def Jam label in 2006, initially believing her to be a pop superstar in the making, but subsequently disregarding her initial work on an album, seemingly because he was having a bad day.

He told Access Hollywood: "This artist came to my office... she played piano, she had on white go-go boots - like, all the way up to here, thigh high boots - she sat down at that piano, she played and she sang. When she was done, I said: 'You are an amazing artist, a true star, and you will change music', and I signed her. Her name was Lady Gaga. Then, a few months later, I got her demos, and it was a work in progress, and I was having a bad day. I'm telling you, I was having a bad day. And I said: 'You know what? I really don't like it. Let her have her freedom, let her go find her career'. It was the worst thing I've ever done".

Gaga subsequently signed to an imprint of another Universal Music division, Interscope, and the rest, as they sometimes say, is history. Reid says that, while he may have failed to bring the Gaga to his former employer, he "redeemed" himself by bagging them a Bieber. He added: "I felt bad, but I swear to you, like a month later Justin Bieber came and redeemed me, so, you know, I survived it all. But I'm a little bit jealous, because the Twitter following, for example, the biggest ones are Bieber and Lady Gaga, so I would have felt like the king of the world! Instead I felt like half the king".

As previously reported, Reid left Universal after various rejigs by the major's new CEO Lucian Grainge, subsequently following Universal's former boss Doug Morris to Sony where he is now heading up an expanded Epic Records while appearing on Sony's 'X-Factor' franchise Stateside.

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TI BACK ON THE STREETS
TI is a free man. The rapper was released from a halfway house and back into normal society yesterday, which means he can get on with filming that reality TV show about his return to life on the outside.

As previously reported, the hip hopper, jailed for breaking probation conditions last year, was let out of prison a month early on 31 Aug, and told to serve out the rest of his sentence in the half way house in his home town of Atlanta. But shortly after arriving in Atlanta he was taken back into full custody, seemingly because he conducted business meetings on a luxury bus while travelling to the city, and that had been forbidden.

He was subsequently sent back to the halfway house on 15 Sep, where yesterday prison officials decided that he could go free. This should all be captured by VH1 for the aforementioned reality TV show documenting his return to the outside world, which is due to premiere on 5 Dec.

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SUGAR HILL RECORDS' SYLVIA ROBINSON DIES
Founder of the Sugar Hill record label Sylvia Robinson died yesterday from heart failure, aged 75. Often referred to as the "mother of hip hop", she was a pioneering figure in the genre, working as producer on its first commercial hit, The Sugarhill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight', and later 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five, as well as releasing them both.

Born Syliva Vanderpool in 1936 in New York, Robinson began a singing career in the 1950s, her first hit coming in 1956 as part of the duo Mickey & Sylvia with Mickey Baker. Entitled 'Love Is Strange', authorship of the song remains in some dispute; based on a guitar riff by Jody Williams, the writing of the lyrics has variously been claimed by Baker, Bo Diddley and Diddley's then wife Ethel Smith.

In 1964, Sylvia married her husband Joe Robinson and in 1968 they formed their first record label, All Platinum Records. A notable hit from that label was 'Shame, Shame, Shame' by the Shirley Goodman fronted Shirley & Company, which Robinson also wrote. Another success story was 'Love Is A Two Way Street' by The Moments, a band put together by Robinson for All Platinum imprint Stang Records. The Robinson-penned song was a hit on the R&B charts at the time, and has since been sampled for Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' 'New York State Of Mind'. In the early 70s, All Platinum also bought Chess Records after it went bankrupt.

Back as a performer, in 1973 Robinson had a solo hit with 'Pillow Talk', which was released by another of her labels Vibration Records. She had originally written the raunchy (particularly for the time) song with Al Green in mind as its performer. However, when he turned it down on moral and religious grounds, she recorded it herself, seeing it go to number three in the Billboard Hot 100 and number fourteen in the UK top 40.

But it was in 1979 that she and Joe founded Sugar Hill Records, which is almost certainly what she will be most remembered for. With financial backing from Roulette Records owner Morris Levy, Robinson launched the label after being inspired by seeing people rapping over instrumental records played by DJs. Recognising the potential of this new art form, both creatively and as a way to revive her then struggling company, she formed the Sugarhill Gang, both the group and the label named after the Sugar Hill area of Harlem in New York.

The Sugarhill Gang's first single, 'Rapper's Delight', went on to be a huge hit, the first commercial success for the burgeoning rap scene. After a run of other hits, the Robinsons bought Levy out of the label in the early 80s, and went on to be pioneers in early music videos and to release the first cassette single. 'Rapper's Delight' was also the first hip hop track to spark a lawsuit for copyright infringement, having used an uncleared sample of 'Good Times' by Chic. There were no clear rules for royalty payments on the fairly new practice of sampling at that time. The suit was eventually settled out of court.

The Sugar Hill label's early success faded a few years later. The label signed a marketing and distribution deal with MCA after the company began to take off, but the Robinsons later sued the company, accusing it of inflating its own profits by failing to report sales. Terms of the deal also meant that they sold the Chess Records catalogue, and that of Checkers Records (which they had also acquired), to MCA, so they couldn't rely on that income when financial struggles forced them to close Sugar Hill in 1986. The legal battle with MCA continued on until 1991 when it was settled out of court, though the Robinsons received no money from the settlement. In 1995, the Sugar Hill master recordings were purchased by Rhino Records.

Later controversy came in 2008 when some members of The Sugarhill Gang sued the Robinsons over unpaid royalties, claims the couple firmly denied. However, despite these low points, Syliva Robinson will continue to remembered as a woman who rose up and achieved considerable success in a male-dominated industry, and who was certainly a catalyst for what has gone on to be the most successful musical genre worldwide.

She is survived by three sons, plus several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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DMAS PRESENTED
So, BT has dished out another bucket full of Digital Music Awards, which is jolly nice of the telecoms company to do I'm sure we can all agree. Adam & Joe took Best Radio Show Or Podcast (or presumably both), which is good. And SoundCloud was declared Best Innovation, which is groovy. As for the rest, well, read the winners list in full and make your own mind up will you, I'm very busy.

Best Male Artist: Olly Murs
Best Female Artist: Jessie J
Best Group: JLS
Best International Artist or Group: Bruno Mars
Best Independent Artist or Group: Adele
Best Newcomer: Jessie J
Best Song: Jessie J feat BOB - Price Tag
Best Video: JLS with Tinie Tempah - Eyes Wide Shut
Breakthrough Artist Of The Year: Ed Sheeran
Artist Of The Year: The Streets

Best Place To Discover Music: Radio 1 online
Best Place To Hear Music: YouTube
Best Place To Buy Music: iTunes
Best Music App: Orange Glastonbury 2011 app
Best Event: Coca-Cola Music - 24 Hour Session with Maroon 5
Best Artist Promotion: Kaiser Chiefs - The Future is Medieval album launch
Best Radio Show Or Podcast: The Adam & Joe Show
Best Innovation Or Gadget: SoundCloud

People's Choice Award For Best Official Site For An Artist: coldplay.com
People's Choice Award For Best Fan Site For An Artist: coldplaying.com

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TAKE THAT TO RELEASE LIVE PROGRESS DVD
In yet another money-smart move, Take That have decided to release footage from their all-conquering Progress Live Tour on DVD, just in time to corner the Christmas market. Due out on 21 Nov, the deluxe double-disc package will feature behind-the-scenes and backstage bits, no doubt of Robbie strutting about in his pants as the other four look on with disdain. Hurrah!

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COURTNEY LOVE TO WRITE AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Courtney Love has signed a deal with HarperCollins imprint William Morrow to publish her autobiography. The company announced that the book would "set the record straight" regarding her life with Kurt Cobain, her drug problems and everything else she's ever considered other people to have told lies about. Which would be everything.

Having read seemingly endless amounts of blogs and tweets from Love over the years, I'm fairly sure she's set the record straight many times over. Though at least a book will be a bit more coherent. I'd not want to be her editor though. If they can manage to whip everything it into shape by then, the book is due out next autumn.

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TRU THOUGHTS ANNOUNCES LONDON SHOWCASE
Electronic label Tru Thoughts is set to host a showcase night at London's Koko on 19 Nov. Those attending can expect sets and performances from long-time roster artists Quantic, Belleruche, Nostalgia 77, Hidden Orchestra and Hint, plus appearances by fresh signings Omar, Anchorsong, Rodney P and Beta Hector. Guests will also receive a free mix CD as compiled by Tru Thoughts co-owner Robert Luis, who is also booked to DJ at the event.

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DANANANANAYKROYD ARE NO MORE
With five years, two well-received albums and one CMU Powers Of Ten playlist to their unspellable name, Glaswegian six-piece Dananananaykroyd have announced they are to part ways after a forthcoming final tour. Their last ever single, 'Think And Feel', will be released on 7 Nov. Stream it here: http://soundcloud.com/workit/think-and-feel/

Reads a statement from the group: "We all still love each other very much. For a band called Dananananaykroyd we've done more than we ever expected or possibly even intended and we've enjoyed nearly every step of the way. We're very keen at the same time to make sure we're never compromising or giving anything less than 100% and at this juncture of our collective lives, it makes sense to go out with a bang - which is exactly what this tour will be".

Tour dates:

12 Oct: Bristol, Thekla
14 Oct: Leeds, Brainwash Festival
29 Oct: Glasgow, ABC
31 Oct: Manchester, Deaf Institute
1 Nov: Leicester, Firebug
3 Nov: Brighton, The Haunt
4 Nov: London, KCLSU
5 Nov: Derby, Victoria Inn
6 Nov: Stoke, Sugarmill
7 Nov: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
8 Nov: Exeter, Cavern
10 Nov: Oxford, Bullingdon
11 Nov: York, Fibbers
12 Nov: Newcastle, Cluny

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TOYOTA LOOKS TO STEP UP MUSIC PARTNERSHIPS PLATFORM IN 2012
Scion A/V, a US-based entertainment venture owned by car firm Toyota, is stepping up its music activity next year, according to Digital Music News.

Toyota has operated the Scion A/V online entertainment hub as part of its marketing for the Scion car range for a number of years, and music-wise struck up a number of partnerships with hip hop artists in the early years. Various artist partnerships have followed, some resulting in new releases. But next year, Scion plans to become a "fully developed music company" getting involved with, and funding, recordings, videos and touring for participating artists. Said artists will get marketing and tour support, and keep hold of any copyrights created by their work with the brand-owned venture.

In terms of music, Scion seems keen to be eclectic with its partnerships, a tie-up with alt metal outfit The Melvins amongst the recent announcements. Other artists involved include Steve Aoki, Switch, and King Kahn, and DMN says the car firm's music enterprise could be working with 20 artists as of next year.

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PEERMUSIC PROMOTES UK CHIEF TO EUROPEAN ROLE
Independent music publisher Peermusic has announced Nigel Elderton as its new European President, reporting straight to CEO Ralph Peer II. London-based Elderton has been MD of the publisher's UK operations for years, and will continue to perform this role.

Says Peer: "Nigel brings a wealth of experience and industry knowledge and a fine track record to his new responsibilities. I look forward to working with him in continuing our European growth".

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EDWYN COLLINS LAUNCHES LABEL
Edwyn Collins has teamed up with James Endeacott, the former Rough Trade A&R and founder of 1965 Records, to launch a new label, to be called Analogue Enhanced Digital. The new venture will launch with four single releases, one for each week in October, from Broken Hands, Rotifer, Wide Sea and Linden. It's not clear whether Collins plans to put out his own new material via the new venture, but presumably so.

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EMMS PUBLICITY CELEBRATES TENTH ANNIVERSARY
Music PR agency EMMS publicity celebrates its tenth anniversary next month, and is doing so by making a bit of noise about Francis Neve, who is signed to the company's previously reported newish management arm. EMMS will be giving away a free download of Bangatang's remix of Neve's first single 'Brian's Drying Up'.

Speaking to CMU, boss man Stephen Emms said: "We're chuffed to be celebrating our first decade having worked with such incredible talent over the years, from Florence Welch to Jay Sean to David Guetta - to name three. This year we've continued to work with albums by some brilliant new and established names, including Scarlette Fever, Carl Cox and Jill Scott - as well as app brands, music venues like Koko and even the odd restaurant or two. We've also launched our management division with the very talented Francis Neve, whose new single 'Dance Around The Fires' is nothing short of astonishing".

The Francis Neve remix is available to stream below, and will have the download function switched on for 24 hours on 3 Oct. Meanwhile, why not read ten facts about EMMS Publicity over on the company's blog? emmspublicityblog.com/2011/09/27/emms-publicitys-birthday-bonanza/

soundcloud.com/emms_publicity/francis-neve-brians-drying-up

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MYSPACE OWNER LAYS OFF STAFF
MySpace's new owner Specific Media has laid off just under 8% of its workforce, according to reports. The redundancies are seemingly part of the integration of the digital advertising company with its newish acquisition.

About half of MySpace's 400 staff were let go when Specific Media took ownership of the flagging digital firm from News Corp, but these new lay offs are in addition to that, and seemingly includes employees in Specific's existing workforce.

We are still awaiting Specific's big announcement about the relaunch of MySpace, originally promised for August but now likely to occur at an advertising conference in New York next month. It is thought changes will see MySpace become an entirely music-based platform, possibly dabbling in Bandcamp/Topspin style territory by trying to enable artists to set up subscription-based fan services.

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SPOTIFY ADDS PRIVATE LISTENING OPTION
Spotify has announced it is adding a 'private listening' button to its player, so that users can easily stop the music platform from sharing data with Facebook while still having their Spotify accounts integrated with the social network (something all new users are obliged to do).

Following ranting from a very vocal minority of Spotify users who dislike the music service's closer ties with Facebook, and the fact that - if Facebook tracking is enabled - Spotify posts updates on every single track ever played onto the social network, Team Spot's top man Daniel Ek announced yesterday via Twitter: "We're rolling out a new client as we speak where you can temporarily hide your guilty pleasures. It works like a browser's private mode. ... We call it 'private listening' and you can find it in the Spotify/File menu and toggle it on/off".

To use the new private listening option users will need to upgrade to the latest version of the streaming music service's player.

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ABSOLUTE TO AIR MULTIPLE FRANK SKINNER SHOWS WITH DIFFERENT MUSIC
So this is interesting. Absolute Radio plans to put out its Frank Skinner Show across all its stations, so on the main service and its 80s, 90s, 00s and Classic Rock spin offs, but with different songs so that the programme fits each channel's music policy.

The Saturday morning show will air an hour later on the digital channels, with all the records swapped. Presumably that means the presenter won't be able to announce the tracks he plays, unless some very clever editing is planned.

The multiple versions of Skinner's programme will start airing from tomorrow.

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JAMES BLAKE NOT A FAN OF US FRATSTEP
Generally operating at the more considered end of dubstep, James Blake has revealed (if you can call it a revelation) that he's not a big fan of the more beefy, slightly brainless efforts to make dubstep that have been coming out of the US with increasing frequency of late.

Actually asked about the lack of women in dubstep, Blake told the Boston Phoenix recently: "The things that drew me to dubstep in the first place weren't necessarily the kind of testosterone-driven environments that you got from say, late jungle or some of the drum n bass stuff that was happening after that. I think the dubstep that has come over to the US, and certain producers - who I can't even be bothered naming - have definitely hit upon a sort of frat-boy market where there's this macho-ism being reflected in the sounds and the way the music makes you feel".

He continued: "To me, that is a million miles away from where dubstep started. It's a million miles away from the ethos of it. It's been influenced so much by electro and rave, into who can make the dirtiest, filthiest bass sound, almost like a pissing competition, and that's not really necessary. And I just think that largely that is not going to appeal to women. I find that whole side of things to be pretty frustrating, because that is a direct misrepresentation of the sound as far as I'm concerned".

Read the full interview here: thephoenix.com/boston/music/127478-interview-james-blakes-dub-soft-shoe/

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BEEF OF THE WEEK: BLOC PARTY V BLOC PARTY
So, this is most likely a big fuss about nothing. In fact, a cynic might suggest that this whole controversy over whether or not Kele Okereke is still Bloc Party's frontman or not was some kind of carefully crafted PR stunt. But that cynic would be an idiot, because nothing about this seems careful at all, let alone crafted.

This story begins on 27 Dec last year, when a picture was posted to Bloc Party's official Twitter profile showing all four members together (with a dog who had hitherto not been part of the band and has not been mentioned since). As people tried to decipher the cryptic message that was attached to the picture - "Merry Christmas from the Bloc" - experts all agreed that this meant that the band were definitely about to break the hiatus they had begun in 2009.

It looked more like that was a correct assessment in March, when Ash frontman Tim Wheeler told The Sun that Bloc Party guitarist Russell Lissack, who had been moonlighting with the band for about a year, was leaving. No one said he was leaving to rejoin Bloc Party, but hopes were raised further.

And those hopes were fulfilled the following month when Lissack confirmed that there was new Bloc Party material on the way. He told NME: "We met up at Christmas ... and talked about doing another record. Kele and I started working on Bloc Party stuff together and separately. We're having a bit of a break until the festivals are over, because people have commitments during the summer, but we're going to get back properly in September and sit in a rehearsal studio to work on new band material".

Bang! There you go, it's happening. Definitely happening. Definitely. Except that come September, Okereke announced not that he was going into the studio with Bloc Party, but that he had already recorded a new solo EP and would be releasing it in October. Not very much about that would suggest he was about to start working with his bandmates on new Bloc Party material.

So, the obvious question came a few weeks later when he was interviewed by NME - what's going on? "I was actually having lunch about three weeks ago, just here on Eighth Avenue and I saw somebody walk past and I recognised the haircut", he said. "It was Russell. I was like: 'Hey!' but he didn't see me and I followed him around the corner and then I saw Matt, Gordon and Russell [ie all his bandmates] all standing outside this rehearsal space. They all went inside".

He added: "I hope I haven't been fired. I don't really know what's going on, because we haven't really spoken recently and I'm a bit too scared to ask".

Asked to comment on Okereke's remarks on Twitter, Lissack said: "I expect they [NME] will be announcing the auditions soon". At the time, most took this to be a sarcastic comment, though a week later that is exactly what happened. Well, sort of.

In an interview with the music weekly, the guitarist said: "It's not really a secret because Kele's been pretty busy doing solo stuff and it looks like he's going to be doing that a bit longer. The other three of us wanted to meet up and make music. We were talking about just doing an instrumental thing, but now we might get a singer as well, to properly put some music out and play some shows".

Confirming that there had been no contact with the band's former frontman, he added: "I haven't spoken to Kele for a couple of months, I guess since the festivals when I was doing stuff with Ash. But there's no bad vibes".

That's right, Lissack returned to Ash as well. Who's the real bad guy here? It doesn't really matter, the story was broken - Kele Okereke is being replaced as the frontman of the band he co-founded and that made him famous. His bandmates planned to carry on without the very man that many would probably see as their key member. Shocking news.

Of course, Lissack never actually said that Okereke was out of the band. Actually, saying "Kele's been pretty busy doing solo stuff and it looks like he's going to be doing that a bit longer" would more likely suggest that Lissack expected Okereke to come back at some point. But whatever, it did seem that the other members of Bloc Party were planning to do something without him.

Commenting on the NME story, Okereke wrote on his blog: "Hmm, I don't know what to make of this. A big part of me is laughing HARD at all of this but another part of me is all like WTF? I'm quite curious as to what a Bloc Party audition would be like? I wonder if they would let me sit on the panel so I could be a judge Tyra Banks style?"

Maybe he could, that sounds like fun. And reality TV shows have been created on flimsier premises. Plus it would be fine, because Okereke is actually still a member of the band. We know this because Si White, who co-manages both Bloc Party and Kele's solo career, tweeted on Wednesday: "For those that keep asking, Bloc Party's membership consists of the same four people it has consisted of since 2003″.

To confirm, those people are Russell Lissack, Gordon Moakes, Matt Tong... and Kele Okereke.

The same day, the Bloc Party website was insisting that "Bloc Party is still Bloc Party". Although that does tell us less about the current line-up. I mean, The Sugababes are apparently still The Sugababes, aren't they?

But I think what's happened here is simple confusion has allowed this story to run out of control. Back in April when he announced that the band were planning to work on new material, Lissack also said: "I've really missed playing some of our songs again. The time away has really just reignited the passion I have for Bloc Party".

The real story, the story it's somehow taken over 1000 words to get to, is that three quarters of Bloc Party are planning to do something together that might be quite cool, but which will ultimately be something of a side project while they wait to get back to work properly once Kele is available. They probably should have let Kele know this though.

But anyway, narked that they are being accused of making up the whole thing, the folks at NME have released the audio of their recent interviews with Okereke and Lissack conducted by writer Dan Smith, so you can make your own mind up.

Kele: soundcloud.com/nmemagazine/bloc-partys-kele-okereke-talks

Russell: soundcloud.com/nmemagazine/bloc-partys-russell-lissack

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