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Halls, aka London-based musician and producer Sam Howard, has been high on our watch list ever since we sat mesmerised, repeatedly replaying the stunning video for his track 'I Am Not Who You Want' last year. Taken from his 'Fragile' EP, which was released by The Sounds Of Sweet Nothing in January, he has spent the rest of the year completing the follow-up, his debut album, 'Ark' more>>
- Björk dedicates song to Pussy Riot, Russian politician calls Madonna an "ex-whore" for doing the same
- Financial losses are Rihanna's own fault, say sued accountancy firm
- Insane Clown Posse consider suing FBI over fans' gang classification
- Viacom loses in battle over Rock Band payments
- SxSW's Brent Grulke 1960 - 2012
- Killing Joke man tracked down... living as desert nomad
- Kanye stalls GOOD Music LP
- Death Grips detail "bass heavy" LP
- Earl Sweatshirt making "pretty" new music with Tyler, Pharrell and Frank Ocean
- Animal Collective LP set for on-air premiere
- Bloc Party, Ariel Pink, Teengirl Fantasy now streaming long players
- Frank Ocean erases live dates, is "sorry as fuck" about it
- R Kelly love cruise cancelled
- Festival line-up additions
- Kim Dotcom promises Megabox coming this year
- X-Factor final to take place in Manchester
- Marilyn Manson daubs swear words on face to fox airport paparazzi
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Eventim UK, part of CTS Eventim AG, the leading ticketing company in Europe, is looking for a Client Account Manager to join its London team. We need someone with experience of event ticketing and ticketing systems, who can build relationships with existing clients to grow Eventim's UK business.

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During her headline show at last weekend's Flow Festival in Helsinki on Sunday, Björk dedicated a performance of her song 'Declare Independence' to the three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot currently on trial in Moscow on charges of hooliganism. She later revealed that she had wanted other members of the band to join her on stage, but they were unable to get visas to travel to Finland in time.

As previously reported, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich - better known as Masha, Nadya and Katya - were arrested earlier this year accused of being amongst the five members of the ten strong band who performed a "punk prayer" against president Vladimir Putin on the altar of the Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour Of The Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Following growing worldwide media coverage of the three band members' case this month, in a statement on her website ahead of her performance this weekend, Björk said: "As a musician and a mother I would like to express I fiercely don't agree with them being put to jail because of their peaceful protest performance. They are currently standing trial and facing seven years in prison for this. In my opinion the Russian authorities should let them go home to their families and children. I would like to invite Pussy Riot to join me in a particular song on stage, which was written for all enhancement of justice (you can guess - once - which one)".

Yesterday, she added via Facebook: "I invited some of Pussy Riot's members to join me on stage in 'Declare Independence' but they didn't get visas so I dedicated it to them instead! The conclusion in their case is at the end of the week. Here's to freedom of speech!"

As previously reported, Madonna also came to the women's defence last week, telling the audience at a show in Moscow: "I know there are many sides to every story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government, but I think that these three girls - Masha, Katya, Nadya - I think that they have done something courageous. I pray for their freedom".

In response, Russian's Vice President Dmitry Rogozin tweeted: "Every ex-whore tends to lecture everybody with age. Especially during world tours and concerts".

So, there you go. Who said the Russian government was heavy handed when it came to dealing with detractors?

Watch Björk dedicate 'Declare Independence' to Pussy Riot here.

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Rihanna's former accountancy firm Berdon LLP has responded to the lawsuit she launched against the company last month, saying that any financial losses she suffered while using the company's services were entirely her own fault.

As previously reported, Rihanna sued the firm last month, saying that mismanagement and exorbitant fees cost her touring company, Tourihanna, millions. The lawsuit claims that "between 2005 and 2010, Tourihanna suffered significant losses due to defendants' financial mismanagement and other acts and omissions". Amongst the allegations are that the bean counters mishandled tax payments, failed to collect unpaid royalties, concealed key information from the singer, and charged "exorbitant" commissions.

However, Berdon has now submitted its response to the singer's claims, reports TMZ, saying that she agreed to and signed off on the company's commission and that it was Rihanna's "own financial action or inaction" that were to blame for her being out of pocket.

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Hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse have announced that they are collating information for a possible lawsuit against the FBI after the US law enforcement organisation classified the band's fans, known as Juggalos, as "a loosely-organised hybrid gang" last year.

As previously reported, in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, the FBI said: "The Juggalos, a loosely-organised hybrid gang, are rapidly expanding into many US communities. Although recognised as a gang in only four states, many Juggalo subsets exhibit gang-like behaviour and engage in criminal activity and violence - law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo subsets".

A statement on new website - www.juggalosfightback.com - reads: "[We] are investigating a possible lawsuit against the FBI or other governmental agencies that have violated the rights of Juggalos on the mistaken belief that they are 'gang members'. If you or someone you know have suffered any negative consequence with a governmental representative, including law enforcement, border patrol, airline security, or other local, state or federal governmental agency or employee as a result of your status as a Juggalo, we want to know about it".

They add that they "are prepared to assist you in learning about your legal rights and to fight for you in court, if possible ... and assist you in getting the legal help that you deserve as a Juggalo".

According to The New York Times, the duo's Violent J said in a statement: "We're not attacking the FBI, but they got this wrong. The Juggalos are not a gang, and that needs to be fixed".

His partner Shaggy 2 Dope added: "It's been almost a year since Juggalos were put on the National Gang Threat Assessment and we are hearing too many stories from our fans about the trouble it's causing them. Just because you like a music group, [that] doesn't make you a criminal".

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MTV owner Viacom has lost a legal battle to avoid paying the original owner of 'Rock Band' maker Harmonix millions in bonus pay outs.

Viacom bought the gaming company and the 'Rock Band' franchise in 2006. In competition with 'Guitar Hero', the 'Rock Band' games seemed to do well initially, but the bubble soon burst in the pretend-to-play gaming genre, and the media conglom sold the entire Harmonix business in 2010, reportedly for less than a dollar.

But, despite the gaming brand crashing out (and reports Viacom never made a profit from the 'Rock Band' product), the original investors in Harmonix said they were due so called earn-out payments based on the performance of the franchise in 2007 and 2008, as agreed in the 2006 acquisition deal. Viacom, though, said nothing was owed and, in fact, they were due a refund on an initial earn-out payment that was too high with hindsight.

Both sides went legal, with all sorts of figures being bandied around - Viacom reckoned it was due $131 million, while the original Harmonix investors reportedly went as high as $700 million with their demands at one point. An arbitrator who reviewed the dispute then ruled that Viacom owed the Harmonix investors some $383 million, somewhat less than the figure they demanded, but a whole lot more than the MTV owner wanted to pay.

A settlement was eventually reached over the 2007 earn-out, but the dispute on the 2008 payment continued, and last week a court in Delaware considered the two parties' claims, siding with the Hamonix investors who, the court reckons, are still owed $299 million.

The media firm told The Hollywood Reporter: "We are disappointed in the court's decision, and are evaluating our options for the next steps of this process".

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Brent Grulke, the Creative Director of South By Southwest, has died aged 52. Having recently returned to the US after visiting London for the Olympics, he had been scheduled to undergo dental treatment yesterday, and died of a heart attack shortly before the procedure.

Originally working in music as a sound engineer and tour manager, Grulke also subsequently spent time in the marketing department at a label called Spindeltop Records and wrote for the Austin Chronicle, having first moved to the Texan city to study at its university.

He was involved with music festival and convention SxSW from its conception in 1987, initially as a stage manager, and became the event's Creative Director in 1994. In that role in particular he helped hone the annual festival's reputation for booking underground talent, as well as supporting local musicians.

Grulke is survived by his wife Kristen and son Graham

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Once-AWOL rockstar Jaz Coleman has re-appeared, "alive and kicking", in the Western Sahara.

As previously reported, the Killing Joke frontman went off-radar without explanation a fortnight ago, his sudden disappearance linked at the time to a public statement in which he (or, as he now alleges, an internet imposter) announced Killing Joke's withdrawal from a joint 'supertour' with The Cult and The Mission.

The band, who had no knowledge of any tour cancellation, nor of Coleman's whereabouts, then issued their own statement expressing concern for his welfare and making an "embarrassed" apology to fans.

Apparently unaware of any such embarrassment and concern, Coleman's Facebook page now bears a message stating that he's "bemused by all the fuss" and is, in fact, "living a nomadic existence" in the Sahara desert, so as to concentrate on writing a book and scoring his orchestral solo project, The Nirvana Symphonic. As excuses go, it's original.

As far as the tour is concerned, Coleman is quoted as saying: "Looks like this has caused a right ding dong and feel it's impossible to continue under the circumstances". Oh.

He does, however, "wish both The Cult and The Mission the best of luck", and vows "to find out who has been impersonating him", so that's something.

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A 'Cruel Summer' indeed, as Kanye West has pushed back the issue date of his label GOOD Music's new collaborative LP even further into... well, autumn. Meant for release on 4 Sep, 'Cruel Summer' will now be available on 18 Sep (which, OK, technically is still summer, but only just), apparently to accommodate four "additional features", one of which may well be a Mos Def collaboration.

GOOD MC Malik Yusef confirmed this via Twitter, saying: "Yeah it looks like a push back on #CRUELSUMMER but our wish for 4 additional features has MOSt DEFinitely been granted".

See what he did? Real clever, that.

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Having released their debut album proper, 'The Money Store', in April, hip hop unit Death Grips have detailed the second LP to arise from their strange but true Sony/Columbia signing. It'll "most likely" be out in late October, and will bear the title 'NO LOVE DEEP WEB'.

The band say in a statement to Pitchfork that they've prepared 20 tracks to be cut to about thirteen, and have been recording primarily in California over the past five months. Adding that the LP will feature nothing in the way of guest features or "outside producers", but hinting at a "video collaboration" with eccentric actor/director Crispin Glover, they characterise its sound as: "Cold, bass heavy, minimal, rock n roll influenced and could simultaneously fit into a rave or dance club context. It is essentially rap and electronic music while at times extremely aggressive".

Having cancelled their entire summer tour to complete said LP, the band add that they'll promote it "live internationally", which presumably means they'll be detailing new dates soon.

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Reformed Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt has said he's "just trying to make pretty music" to feature on the sequel to his debut LP 'EARL', even if it means alienating much of his original 'EARL'-era fanbase.

Sharing the communiqué via his Twitter account, Sweatshirt, who was justifying his absence from OF's European tour, said: "I anticipate a loss of fans. I also anticipate gaining some. So. You know. Yeah. I hope I lose you as a fan if you only fuck with me cause I rapped about raping girls when I was fifteen". Ah, good to know.

He added: "I fucking love how it sounds. And uhh, that's what matters. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that you can hear the progression".

Amongst other revelations, Earl also tweeted that his OFWGKTA associates Tyler, The Creator, Frank Ocean, Syd Tha Kid, Domo Genesis and Vince Staples were in on the project, as apparently are Thundercat, producer Christian Rich, alt-jazz band Bad Bad Not Good, Sa-Ra MC Om'Mas Keith and Pharrell Williams, both solo and as part of The Neptunes. Oh and "randomblackdude", so that's also good to know.

The LP, when it's done, will mark one of the first to be released via Tan Cressida, the label Sweatshirt established earlier this year as an imprint of Sony's Columbia Records.

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The first play of Animal Collective's new LP, 'Centipede Hz', will air via the band's online radio station prior to the long player's official release via Domino on 3 Sep.

To listen in on the premiere, tune in to www.radio.myanimalhome.net on 20 Aug. Last Sunday night's transmission, as features three new solo tracks by AC's own Avey Tare, is available to hear in the meantime.

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Bloc Party, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and Teengirl Fantasy, all of whom exist at very different points on the pop spectrum, are all streaming their own very separate new LPs on different websites, a fact made all the more thrilling because none has been released yet.

Anyway, Ariel Pink et al's bizarre new studio suite 'Mature Themes', despite not being out (via 4AD) until next week, is available to sample in its entirety via The Guardian. Though be warned, one of its tracks is titled 'Schnitzel Boogie'.

Dance duo Teengirl Fantasy also have their new long player, 'Tracer', out on 20 Aug, and their labels True Panther Sounds/R&S Records have shared a complete premonition of it here via NPR.

And then there's 'Four', the fourth Bloc Party LP, which is released - guess when - this coming Monday (20 Aug). That's free to listen to too, via this custom-made web player.

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Rapper Frank Ocean has said he's "sorry as fuck" to have withdrawn from a number of his forthcoming live appearances, as include billings at this year's V Festivals and Bestival plus a slot on Coldplay's European tour, for no apparent reason.

A statement Ocean issued to Sweden's Way Out West festival, which announced that Ocean wouldn't be playing just hours prior to his set time, read: "Let me start by saying I feel like an asshole right now, but a tough decision had to be made in regard to my schedule over the next months".

It ends: "Sorry as fuck, I'll be back if you'll have me".

The cause of the cancellations is as yet unclear, and made even more so by Ocean's walking off stage midway through a performance at Norwegian festival Øya over the weekend. Organisers said at the time that he'd lost his voice, despite The Music's review of his four-track set claiming that: "all seemed to be shaping up excellently" prior to his abrupt exit.

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R Kelly has declined to step aboard that previously mentioned 'Love Letter' cruise, allegedly cancelling the Bahamas-based voyage because its organisers, Concert Cruise LLC, failed to pay his fee.

As previously reported, Kelly announced last December a partnership with a company called Concerts Cruise, which would see him headline the ocean going festival, 'Love Letter Cruise' - named after his 2010 album, 'Love Letter'. But now, with less than two months to go before the ship was set to sail from Miami to The Bahamas, Kelly has announced that he's pulling out.

In a statement announcing that the crooner would not be proceeding with his October ocean adventure, Kelly's spokesman said: "Concerts Cruise LLC has been unable to meet its financial obligations to a scheduled cruise with featured performer R Kelly and will therefore have to cancel this cruise. R Kelly had been looking forward to the cruise and was ready, willing and able to perform for fans. He is sorry for any disappointment but plans to see his fans very soon on a US tour. Ticket holders should contact Concerts Cruise LLC to handle refunds".

Concerts Cruise LLC have reportedly already emailed ticket-buyers about refunds, though have so far not commented to the press, and Billboard notes that the firm's Facebook and Twitter accounts have both been deleted, which isn't a great sign.

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BUGGED OUT WEEKENDER, Butlins Resort, Bognor Regis, 18 - 20 Jan 2013: Boys Noize, Annie Mac, Benga, Blawan, Skream, Brodinski, Dan Avery, Dusky, Frankie Knuckles, Gesaffelstein. www.buggedoutweekender.net

ELECTRIC PICNIC, Stradbally Hall Estate, Co Laois, Ireland, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: Bellowhead, The Louisiana Six, Carousel, Ham SandwicH, Shannon and The Shortcuts, Homebrew And The Bad Examples, Swords, Pervish, The Cujo Family, Huey And The Hobgoblins, The Mighty Stef, Jerry Fish, Black Friday, Gary's Dead Zoo, The Camembert Quartet, No Crows, Propellor Palms, Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson, Bronagh Gallagher, Tieranniesaur, The BaRLey Mob, Beef Supreme, Shane Hennessy, The Eskies, Pete Pamf, Morton Valence, Will Dempsey, Fox.E & The Good Hands, Gypsy Rebel Rabble, Fred, The Cracked Bucket Band, Simon Spoons, Lois & The Love. www.electricpicnic.ie

REWIRE, The Hague, 2-4 Nov: Shackleton, Laurel Halo, Nosaj Thing, Pete Swanson, Lotus Plaza, Halls, Deaf Center, Black Rain, Juffage, Rocketnumbernnine, Alex Smoke, Knalpot, H-SIK, FilosofischeStilte. www.rewirefestival.nl

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MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom has said that his much previously discussed new music service, Megabox, basically a direct-to-fan platform for artists, will hit the internet later this year, despite being temporarily derailed by the shutdown of the rest of the Mega empire by US officials in January on copyright infringement grounds. It seems that Megabox will let artists who so wish to give away tracks, earning off ads or other revenue-generating schemes that will appear alongside their giveaways. Dotcom says artists will be given over 90% of revenues linked to their music.

As previously reported, there was a conspiracy theory doing the rounds in the spring - possibly instigated by Dotcom himself - that the MegaUpload takedown occurred when it did because the old school music industry feared the awesome power of Megabox, so sure (apparently) were the majors that every single artist would jump ship as soon as the new service went live, and release all future music through this new system. Obviously that wouldn't actually happen, even if Megabox was a brilliant bit of technology which, if the other Mega websites are anything to go by, it won't be.

Writing for TorrentFreak last December, before the shutdown, Dotcom said: "UMG knows that we are going to compete with them via our own music venture called Megabox.com, a site that will soon allow artists to sell their creations direct to consumers and allowing artists to keep 90% of earnings. We have a solution called the Megakey that will allow artists to earn income from users who download music for free. Yes that's right, we will pay artists even for free downloads. The Megakey business model has been tested with over a million users and it works. You can expect several Megabox announcements next year including exclusive deals with artists who are eager to depart from outdated business models".

He added: "You need to understand that some labels are run by arrogant and outdated dinosaurs who have been in business for 1000 years. These guys think an iPad is a facial treatment, the internet is the devil, and wired phones are still hip. They are in denial about the new realities and opportunities. They don't understand that the rip-off days are over. Artists are more educated than ever about how they are getting ripped off and how the big labels only look after themselves".

And concluded: "Dinosaur labels don't have the answers to today's new realities. UMG chose to wilfully sabotage our campaign instead of analyzing the situation and seeing that the answers to all their problems are right in front of them".

Anyway, back to now, and Dotcom tweeted yesterday: "I know what you are all waiting for. It's coming. This year. Promise. Bigger. Better. Faster. 100% Safe and unstoppable", adding several hours later: "Yes... Megabox is also coming this year".

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Having seen how great shifting operations up to Salford has been for the BBC, ITV's going to have a crack at it too. The company has announced that this year's 'X-Factor' final will take place at the Manchester Central convention complex. Last year the show's finale travelled out of the TV studio for the first time, taking place in Wembley Arena.

Confirming the news, judge Louis Walsh told Manchester Evening News: "Our live final is going to be another major event - so 'The X-Factor' 2012 has everything. I believe it's going to be our best series yet".

The new series begins this Saturday, with the final due to take place in December. Oh god.

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Marilyn Manson recently employed a DIY approach to fending off paparazzi at LAX airport, by writing 'FUCK YOU' on his face. Oh, Marilyn.

Quite why he thought this would work, given that the one thing any photographer is going to want to catch him doing is living up to his shock rock stylings, is anyone's guess. As you can see from this E! Online report, paps still took pictures and gossip sites still published them (albeit with his cheeks blurred out).

Still, a day out being all shocking and that has got to be a good one for old Mazza, right? Seemingly not.

One Reddit user wrote: "I just went through the LAX security line with Marilyn Manson. He had 'FUCK' scrawled in large letters across the bottom half of his face, with what appeared to be a grease pencil. As we each removed our boots in the security line, he kindly explained that it was not directed at me or anyone else in the airport, but rather at the paparazzi, so that they couldn't sell any photos of him that they took. He was really apologetic about it, and covered his mouth around young children while apologizing to their parents for exposing their child to profanity".

Marilyn Manson, there. Kind, apologetic and wary of teaching children swear words.

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CMU Editor Andy Malt and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke are both available to comment on music and music business stories. Together they have provided comment and contributions to BBC News, BBC World, BBC Radios 4, 5, 6music and Scotland, Sky News, CNN, Wired and the Associated Press. Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk.

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