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Producer/singer Wall does a nice line in dusty pop, the lead track on single release 'Magazine' reflecting in its production the lyrical theme of yearning for the spring and warmer, better times. B-side, 'Over My Head', is similarly muted but heavily layered, while on 'No Secrets' she strips back the musical base to allow space for her strong vocals to spill up and over the sides more>>
- Free Pussy Riot members speak out
- George Michael defends performing new single at Olympics closing ceremony
- Girls Aloud hint at birthday reunion
- Nicola Roberts in studio with DJ Fresh
- Taylor Swift to release confessional new LP
- Daughter share first 4AD single
- Africa Express tour takes on Nicolas Jaar, Rizzle Kicks and Temper Trap
- Delphic to tour
- Japandroids add live dates
- Festival line-up additions
- HMV to open test social store
- Imagem and Cantora announce joint venture
- YouTube top music source for young Americans, though CDs still selling
- VEVO launches in Brazil, Deezer hits Asia
- Tommy Lee rails against "hellish" SeaWorld soundtrack, saves the whales
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The members of Pussy Riot who have so far evaded capture by Russian authorities have gone on a PR offensive as a ruling in the cases of their bandmates Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, expected on Friday, draws closer. The remaining members of the group have been relatively quiet since the arrests in March, but recently met secretly with journalists from a variety of publications for a series of interviews.

As previously reported, the three accused women - better known as Masha, Nadya and Katya - were arrested earlier this year amidst allegations they were 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.

Speaking to the BBC, one other member of the band, named only as Button, said "[They are not on trial] because they did something wrong but just because somebody decided to show us his power. But it's not real power, it's fake power".

Another, going by the name Pussy, added: "The government can arrest some people, but it can't arrest the whole idea".

Also interviewed by The Guardian, Button said: "Three wonderful girls who were an inspiration for this group are in prison right now. It is hard for us without them. We feel it. But it means only one thing - that we should become even stronger, maybe even bolder".

Another unnamed member of the group said: "Of course there is danger and we feel it. Obviously we would like to avoid any unpleasant situations in the future, but I am afraid every one of us is ready for such instances and it's quite awful. [We are] ready to reveal our names and faces to some unpleasant public stories".

Meanwhile, The Guardian also reports that English translations of the testimonies of Masha, Nadya and Katya will be read by British actors at the Royal Court in London on Friday as part of a global day of action in reaction to the case.

The event was proposed by playwright EV Crowe, who said: "What Pussy Riot does is take a stand, through art, and then maximise its impact through social media. They are women who make me want to understand the world I'm living in, to write about it, and to be brave whatever the cost".

The Royal Court's Artistic Director Dominic Cooke added: "The Pussy Riot trial is of concern to those who believe that the right of artists to question the actions of the state is central to an egalitarian society. As a London home for theatre artists to ask challenging questions, the Royal Court feels like the obvious place for the women's words to be heard in English".

The artistic protest in London follows a short demonstration at the Edinburgh Fringe yesterday, orchestrated by Amnesty International. Performers flyering the public for their shows on the city's Royal Mile took ten minutes off from their promotional duties to don fluorescent balaclavas in support of the accused Russian musicians. The specific protest precedes Amnesty's annual Stand Up For Freedom show at the world's biggest cultural festival tonight.

Amnesty International Scotland Director Shabnum Mustapha told our sister publication, Edinburgh Festival magazine ThreeWeeks: "The Pussy Riot women were simply exercising their right to peaceful dissent and three years [in jail] for a song is utterly ridiculous. We've always had great support from comedians, who value the right to free speech more than most, and it was wonderful to see so many festival-goers and workers drumming up support [yesterday] for the right to speak freely. It's fairly hard to shock on the streets of Edinburgh [during the Festival], but we did it [with this protest], people were actually approaching the flyerers for a change, out of curiosity".

In other Pussy Riot news, Björk wasn't the only musician showing support for the Russian punk band last week. On Thursday, Blood Red Shoes also got in on the action, though their protest wasn't met with quite the same enthusiasm. To be fair, they did pick a tougher crowd - the duo were performing at the ICA in London for the Russian Olympics team, at a show sponsored by a Russian sports brand.

Drummer and vocalist Steven Ansell explained: "After dedicating a song to the girls in Pussy Riot, they fucking pulled the plug on us! We were then told to get out by a bunch of massive Russian security guards. We grabbed our gear into a van and got out pronto".

As previously reported, Björk dedicated her song 'Declare Independence' to Pussy Riot when she headlined Finland's Flow Festival on Sunday. Feist also appeared at the same festival earlier the same day sporting a "Free Pussy Riot!" banner. And last week Madonna praised the three women for being "courageous" at a show in Moscow, for which she was called an "ex-whore" by the country's vice president.

Finally for today, music merchandise company Back Street Merch has announced a line of 'Free Pussy Riot' t-shirts and bags, with all profits donated to the Free Pussy Riot legal fund.

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George Michael came in for some criticism after he followed a brilliant performance of his song 'Freedom' at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday with a run through his new single 'White Light'.

Defending the decision on Twitter yesterday, Michael said: "Had a GREAT time at the closing! I hope you are not bothered by the press reports of my scandalous 'promotion'! Please join me in telling them to fuck off! It was my one chance on TV to thank you all for your loyalty and prayers, and I took it".

By putting 'promotion' in inverted commas there, presumably Michael doesn't consider performing a brand new song at the big Olympics closer a promotional endeavour - though the marketing machine behind the track certainly whirred into action as soon as he'd finished. And it particularly stood out in a show largely consisting of artists performing older hits (which Michael had already done, of course).

I'm also not sure that it's fair to say it was only members of the press who thought it was a bit odd - Twitter would suggest lots of punters were a bit confused by the inclusion of a new song too.

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If you assumed all those 'defunct girl band to reunite' rumours would stop now that The Spice Girls have shrilled 'Wannabe' atop a fleet of taxis, think again. It's all about Girls Aloud now, who look likely to reform for a special do in November, it being the tenth anniversary of their 'Popstars: The Rivals' victory, and all.

The quintet's Cheryl Cole and Nicola Roberts, who in the past week appeared (separately) on ITV morning programmes to promote their solo ventures, have both made very un-subtle hints that Girls Aloud will be marking their "birthday" in one way or another.

Speaking on 'Daybreak' yesterday, Chez said: "It's actually just exciting to be back, doing something", adding pointedly: "Our birthday's in November". She then winked, a sure sign either that Girls Aloud are reuniting. Or that she had something in her eye.

Her one-time bandmate Nicola Roberts said similar things on Monday's episode of 'This Morning', taunting Eamonn Holmes with: "I want to tell you everything but I really can't. It's our birthday in November, so we'll definitely be celebrating then".

Oh, and as additional proof of a pending reunion - or perhaps just for the sheer lulz of it - here's a twitpic of Cheryl, Nicola and Kimberley Walsh doing the Mo Farah 'mobot'.

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Talking of that their girl group, and contrary to DJ Fresh's misleading recent comment that he'd been in the studio with all five Girls Aloud, recording towards a band project, it's apparently just Nicola Roberts who's enlisted Fresh to make what may or may not be the sequel to her debut LP 'Cindarella's Eyes'.

So yeah, sorry to disappoint, it's just Nicola. And DJ Fresh. Not Cheryl, or Kimberley, or whoever your favourite Girl Aloud is. Unless your fave is Nicola, in which case, you'll be pleased to note this confirmation from her solo press reps Supersonic PR. I mean, Fresh's quote did seem to imply that it was Girls Aloud the group he'd been collaborating with, but who is he (or indeed, am I), to argue with a PR's say-so.

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Given the present craze for popstars like Lady Gaga to detail their new LPs straight to fans, an au fait Taylor Swift - not to be out-social media'd by Gaga - took to a live 'web chat and Google+ hangout' on Monday night to share notes on her forthcoming long player, 'Red'. The first of its sixteen tracks to be released as a single will be 'We Are Never Getting Back Together' (available now on iTunes), while the record itself is out on 22 Oct.

Answering international fans' questions from a Ronnie Corbett-style armchair, a candid Swift said she'd drawn songwriting inspiration from both her personal relationships and those of others, saying: "When I'm writing an album, my world becomes a big storyboard, and everyone in it has the potential to become a character. And all my friends and family members, and everybody around me, knows that".

Swift also revealed that the duet she recorded with Britain's very own Ed Sheeran would feature on the LP, gushing: "He's one of my favourite people in the world, he's so cool and just such a great artist. We wrote a song while sitting on a trampoline, it is going to be on the album and I'm so excited because I'm such a big fan of his".

For those of you who didn't flock to Google+ for the live chat (ie anyone who isn't a Google employee still begrudgingly using it), you can watch it, complete with awkward playback of 'We Are Never Getting Back Together' to close, right here.

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In the grand tradition of musicians making fine music and titling it 'Smother' (Wild Beasts' third LP, for one), 4AD-signed folkists Daughter have just debuted a new track by that name. Released on seven-inch vinyl on 1 Oct and featuring a B-side in live staple 'Run', it's accompanied by word of the band's highest-profile headline show to date, as takes place at London's Hackney Empire on 24 Jan.

In the mean time, listen to 'Run' here.

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Nicolas Jaar, Rizzle Kicks and The Temper Trap are amongst the artists just added to the all-star line-up of the previously reported Africa Express' railway tour, which makes its first stop on 3 Sep at Middlesbrough Town Hall.

Kyla La Grange, Tony Allen, Carl Barat, Nneka, Spoek Mathambo and Marques Toliver will also perform live as part of the convoy, and thus join the likes of Damon Albarn, Charli XCX, Noisettes, Kano and Amadou & Mariam.

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Indie-dance troupe Delphic, who were voted third in the BBC Sound Of poll circa 2010, are now back. So back, in fact, that they've proclaimed a nine date tour as a way to gauge public opinion on material meant for their as-yet untitled new LP.

The band may have been all but inactive since releasing their debut 'Acolyte' two years ago, but frontman Rick Boardman justifies the wait: "We're trying to make something truly great. We're not interested in the rock n roll lifestyle. We didn't want to release something that we would mean we could just go back on tour and have fun. We just want to make a really great record".

Tour dates:

22 Oct: Glasgow, Arches
23 Oct: Newcastle, Digital
25 Oct: Norwich, Arts Centre
26 Oct: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
27 Oct: Manchester, Gorilla
29 Oct: Sheffield, Plug
30 Oct: Bristol, Thekla
31 Oct: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
1 Nov: London, Village Underground

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Besides making many people's favourite rock LP of the year so far in 'Celebration Rock', Canadian duo Japandroids have been touring a lot of late.

Set to play a couple of Irish and festival dates at Beacons and Summer Sundae this weekend, the band have also announced four new October bookings as part of a worldwide campaign. Scan the relevant GB listings after a look at the new video for 'Celebration Rock' single 'The House That Heaven Built'.

26 Oct: Heaven, London
27 Oct: Sound Control, Manchester
29 Oct: The Harley, Sheffield
30 Oct: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

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BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, 6-9 Sep: Summer Camp, Alt-J, Clement Marfo & The Frontline, Willis Earl Beal, Iceage, Wet Nuns, Dingus Khan, Jake Bugg, This is the Kit, The Staves, Mary Epworth, Daytona Lights, Rudimental, Kwes, Big Kids, The Other Tribe, James McCartney, The Coronas, Nina Nesbitt, Jinja Safari, Lucky Elephant, Stealing Sheep, Balearic Folk Orchestra, Two Jackals, Clock Opera, AlunaGeorge, Diagrams, Tom Williams, & the Boat, Crowns, Kate Nash, King Charles, Skepta, Gush, Palma Violets, Sunless 97, Georgous George, Gecko, Beans On Toast. www.bestival.net

THE GREAT CONVERGENCE, Giza Plateau, Egypt, 20-22 Dec: Apparat, Beats Antique, Random Rab, Bluetech, Gaudi, Govinda, Desert Dwellers, David Starfire, DJ Dragonfly, Imagika. www.thegreatconvergence2012.com

JELLY FESTIVAL, Compton Hall, Norfolk, 17-18 Aug: The Felice Brothers, Roni Size, Alex Metric, Jakwob, Lucy Rose, Admiral Fallow, Allister Whitehead, 14th, Gypsy Hill, Swing Zazou. www.jellyfestival.com

ITUNES FESTIVAL, The Roundhouse, London, 1-30 Sep: Elbow, Hot Chip, Bat For Lashes. www.itunesfestival.com

V FESTIVAL, Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex/Weston Park, Staffordshire, 18-19 Aug: The Charlatans (who, in what must be a career high, replace Dappy), Wiley, JME, Skepta. www.vfestival.com

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Entertainment retailer HMV is going to pilot a 'social media' café offering free wi-fi, mobile phone charging, a 'community blackboard', and space for live performances. It's the latest attempt by the flagging entertainment retailer to find a business model with longevity as mainstream music, film and gaming purchasing on the high street continues to slump.

More social entertainment retail spaces have been mooted before, and have been piloted with mixed success in some quarters. Though there is potentially still mileage in this approach, even at the more mainstream end of the market, for any company that can get it right. Whether HMV is that company remains to be seen.

The social store will also have plenty of shelf space for tech gadgets which, as previously reported, is the other grand plan to save HMV's high street operations, albeit a less convincing one that the social store project.

Confirming that a test HMV social media café was being opened in Cambridge this weekend, a spokesman for the retail firm told reporters: "As the company continues with the transformation of its retail offer in response to the changing way that people now discover and enjoy entertainment content, HMV is increasingly developing a fully-fledged multi-channel offer across its combined store, online and digital estate".

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Independent music publisher Imagem has announced a new joint venture with New York record label Cantora (best known for releasing MGMT's debut single). The partnership will see Imagem offer traditional publishing services to Cantora's recording artists, while in turn Cantora will develop new songwriters for the publisher.

Cantora's Will Griggs told CMU: "We see a unique opportunity to use the team, reach and resources of Imagem Music as an invaluable early-stage tool for jump-starting artist careers. The combination of their powerhouse worldwide presence and creative, hands-on ethos make them the ideal partner to instill Cantora's approach to artist development in the publishing world".

Jon Pikus, Creative Director at Imagem Music USA, added: "We are delighted to be working with Cantora, who exist in the pantheon of New York indie cool. This deal will allow us to get involved early in the development of the new artists they consistently discover and nurture, and to help them build careers of longevity".

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A new report on the habits of young music consumers in the US by Nielsen shows just how important YouTube is as a music platform, though whether the video site is the music destination of choice for so many young music fans because of their love of pop promo videos, or simply because it's the most user-friendly free-to-access streaming service (ie really it's the audio they're after) isn't entirely clear.

The report says that 64% of the 3000 young consumers surveyed listen to music via YouTube, compared to 56% on radio, 53% via iTunes downloads, and 50% on CD. So hurray for the Google video platform.

Though the number of young consumers engaging with those other platforms and formats is perhaps surprisingly high, with over a third of the surveyed teens saying they had bought a CD in the last year. Though the CD buying kids were drawn to cost savings, with Walmart mentioned by many as the source of their music discs.

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Music video site VEVO announced yesterday that it had launched in Brazil, with a new Portuguese language site featuring all the content currently available - including videos from Universal, Sony Music, EMI and some indies - in other territories, plus other localised content.

VEVO's Senior Vice President and International VP Nic Jones told CMU: "To launch the VEVO platform in a country known for its deep musical tradition and for people who create and consume music in a very passionate way is very exciting. For advertisers, VEVO's arrival in the Brazilian market is the ideal opportunity for them to access these passionate audiences through a catalogue that highlights the greatest artists of all genres".

Deezer also continued its slower than predicted launch across every patch of land on the entire planet this week, going live in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. In Thailand, as with a number of other territories, including the UK, the company has partner with a local telecommunications operator, in this case dtac. It's not clear how much local content the company has licensed at launch, though the digital firm does say it has a "strong focus on local music".

Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez told CMU: "We are thrilled to launch Deezer in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia during our first foray into Asia and look forward to rolling out in the Philippines and Indonesia. There is a real passion for music here and we have no doubt that Deezer's strong focus on local music and editorial recommendations will resonate with fans in each country. We are pleased to have dtac on board as we have found in other markets that telecommunications partnerships provide a powerful way of helping people explore this revolutionary new way of listening to, discovering and sharing music".

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Part-time felon and animal rights activist Tommy Lee has written to SeaWorld on behalf of its captive killer whales. Protesting as part of a PETA campaign to save the whales in more general terms, Lee implores John T Reilly, president of the San Diegan SeaWorld oceanarium, to stop playing Motley Crue's 'Shamu Rocks' - or any of the band's catalogue - during SeaWorld's live orca shows. Apparently, the track's 90 decibel noise-levels are "too loud and nerve-racking", and disrupt the animals' sensitive sonar, thus distressing the whales. And no one wants that.

Lee writes: "Although we like to torture the human fans who willingly come to our shows, we don't want to be a part of making innocent animals' lives hellish. Whales are not head-bangers, so stop cranking the music and take one small step toward improving their welfare".

It's not Lee's first letter to SeaWorld. Back in 2010, he wrote asking the Florida branch to stop collecting semen from one of its killer whales using "a cow's vagina filled with hot water", noting that "even during my wildest days with Motley Crue, I never could have imagined something so sick and twisted".

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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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