24 JAN 2013

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Since he released his first single in 2009, Flux Pavilion, aka dubstep producer Josh Steele, has seen his career progress upwards at a constant rate. Already in demand for his live shows and DJ sets, he's also been sampled by Kanye West and Jay-Z on their 'Watch The Throne' album, and last year gained his first UK top 40 single with the Example-featuring 'Daydreamer'. Ahead of the 28 Jan release of his new EP, 'Blow The Roof', we asked him to put together a playlist more>>
Kate Boy emerged last year, like so many new indie pop acts these days, with their history scrubbed from the internet and one great song left in its place. It can be frustrating to struggle around trying to find what scraps of information are left, but it also manufactures intrigue, which I guess is the point. And it also ensures a magnified focus on that one song. Which in Kate Boy's case was one called 'Northern Lights' more>>

- Supermarkets interested in HMV stores not included in Hilco's rescue plan
- Sony Music forms alliance with EDM label Ultra Music
- Black Keys sue again over ad song use
- Mew split from Sony Music, prepare to record new album
- Selena Gomez inspired by Skrillex and Taylor Swift, at the same time
- Paramore's Hayley Williams talks new LP
- Neon Neon announce new album
- Feathers announce debut album
- Ludovico Einaudi adds April dates
- Thurston Moore to tour with Michael Chapman
- AEG says Hyde Park festivals will be dead noisy
- Festival line-up update
- Ron Fair to run Virgin Records US
- MAMA takes full control of Lovebox
- Essential announces seven new label deals
- INgrooves announces label deals
- BandPage announces enhancements
- The Echo Nest hires two ex-Gracenote staff
- CueSongs announces deal with new cycling channel
- Marnie Stern seeking fan-dates
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The supermarket chains are considering bidding for some of HMV's shops as part of plans to further expand their city centre convenience store chains. And I'm sure we all agree that if there's one thing we all need, it's more supermarkets. Let's just hope they don't forget to turn some HMV units into coffee shops; Lord knows we need more of them.

According to The Guardian, Morrisons has expressed an interest in up to 20 sites currently occupied by the flagging entertainment retailer, which it would turn into M Local stores. Tesco and Sainsbury's might also bid, though they are so far staying tight-lipped on the matter.

As previously reported, administrators Deloitte, called in by HMV management last week, are currently in talks with various parties interested in various parts of the HMV business. Restructuring firm Hilco, which now controls much of the entertainment retail company's debts, is expected to acquire the HMV brand and, word has it, up to half of the firm's 230 store network.

Meanwhile, property firms CBRE and Savills have been brought in to find buyers for those shops that will not be part of a streamlined HMV. In addition to the supermarkets, New Look, JD Sports, J Crew and Game have all expressed an interest in acquiring some of HMV's store units.

In related news, reports suggest Hilco is looking to buy the Jessops brand from the administrators dealing with that other recent UK retail collapse, perhaps with a view to operating Jessops camera concessions in HMV stores. Hey, perhaps they could rebrand HMVs DVD department Blockbuster and the gadgets area Comet, making your local HMV store the place where doomed retail brands go to die.

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While in the UK the record industry is busy trying to force through the guitar music revival, in the US corporate eyes are still on the potential of the dance music market, capitalising on the recent rise of so called EDM in the States.

And to that end Sony Music has just announced a strategic alliance with New York-based dance label Ultra Music, which works with Kaskade, Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki among others. The exact terms of the deal are not known, though Sony has made an investment in the independent, which previously had distribution partnerships with both Warner and EMI, and its founder, Patrick Moxey, will become global President Of Electronic Music for Sony Music Entertainment, reporting in to overall Sony Music chief Doug Morris.

Says Morris: "We are excited to expand our presence in electronic dance music through this new global partnership with Ultra Music. Patrick Moxey is a fantastic music executive and a proven hitmaker in this important genre".

While Moxey added: "This is an exciting deal for Ultra and I have a partner in Doug Morris and Sony Music who understands our business and shares our ethos. The collaboration will continue to strengthen Ultra as a global brand at the forefront of electronic music, opening up new opportunities for both labels and will ensure that our artists will continue to receive an enhanced and seamless service".

Ultra Music is a separate business to the Ultra dance music festival franchise, though the two Ultra companies did strike up an alliance last year, overcoming past squabbles over the name.

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The Black Keys have launched new litigation against an advertiser for allegedly using the band's music in promotional videos without permission.

As previously reported, the US duo sued both Pizza Hut and Home Depot last year over similar allegations, with both suits being ultimately settled out of court. The latest target for The Black Keys' lawyers is Pinnacle Entertainment, which runs casinos in the US and which is accused of using the band's song 'Howlin For You', or something incredibly similar to it, in two ad spots last autumn.

When challenged about using Black Keys tracks in its ads by the band's fans on the social networks last year, Pinnacle responded by saying their ad featuring "a licensed track inspired by 'Howlin For You' by The Black Keys", adding that "we bought a licensed musical interpretation of the [original] song".

It's no secret that ad agencies sometimes commission new musical works that are incredibly similar to existing tracks if they can't secure the rights in a favoured song (or can't afford to). The legalities of such a practice are a bit of a grey area, and usually when artists whose works are mimicked in this way cry foul, an out-of-court settlement prevents any judicial consideration on the matter.

But in their latest lawsuit The Black Keys note Pinnacle's expected defence, but argue that even if the music in the casino firm's ads was a sound-a-like to their work, the defendant is still liable for trademark violation and unfair competition. If it were to get to court, that would make for a very interesting hearing. Chances are it won't though. Although yet to comment, beyond its earlier social networking remarks, it will be no surprise if Pinnacle quietly settle on this.

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Mew have announced that they have split from Sony Music after almost a decade with the major label, and will now funnel all of their output through their own label, Evil Office. The label was launched by the band in 2000 to release their second album, 'Half The World Is Watching Me', and has continued to hold a stake in all Mew releases through Sony, as well as re-issuing the band's first two albums in 2007.

Frontman Jonas Bjerre told CMU: "We're building a setup in which our own label Evil Office will become the headquarters for all activities. From here we will seek out dedicated and passionate people around the globe both in relation to our releases but also to create other creative collaborations involving our music. It makes our job more demanding, but it also gives us the opportunity to act faster when good ideas or opportunities occur. We want to be able to take chances".

With their business affairs now in order, the band are preparing to record a new album, the follow-up to 2009's 'No More Stories'. A live version of one of the tracks written for it, 'Klassen', is available to stream via the band's website in exchange for you email address now.

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To-scale pop miniature Selena Gomez has, in the same breath, cited Skrillex and Taylor Swift as being inspirational in the making of her new LP. Whether that means the tbc disc will be of a 'fratstep' sub-genre, and/or be released as a sonic add-on to a Papa John's pizza, is still unclear, but still... it's certainly going to be very, very diverse.

Interviewed by MTV earlier this week, Ms Gomez - who is set to release a new single in March - said of her pop peer Swift: "Taylor inspires me - not even in music, just in everything that she does. She's such an incredible person".

So far, so normal. But what of Skrillex? The dumbstep producer has, as we're all aware, composed an OST to Harmony Korine's new James Franco-starring film 'Spring Breakers', in which Selena also appears.

And she says: "Skrillex was a big inspiration because he did the score of 'Spring Breakers', so being a part of that and meeting him and watching 'Spring Breakers' a thousand times through festivals and stuff, you kinda get hooked on it. So I was like, 'I should kind of add a little bit of that in there'".

Anyway, this is the on-the-NSFW-side 'Spring Breakers' trailer.

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Paramore's Hayley Williams has hailed her band's eponymous new LP, the same one that's set for release via Warner Music/Fueled By Ramen on 8 Apr, as "the best record we've ever made".

'Paramore' will mark Williams et al's first long player since 'Brand New Eyes', whose 2009 release was followed by a falling-out with original guitarist and drummer Josh and Zac Farro, who opted to leave the then-quintet in 2010.

Stopping by at Radio 1 to promote new Paramore single 'Now', Williams said: "I am definitely more in love with this band than I've ever been before which, if you know me, that's kind of impossible. I'm the number one Paramore fan in the world - it's kind of annoying, really".

She added: "Everything happens for a reason. We've been through a lot but it got us to this point. We feel like we have the best record we've ever made. We're in the best headspace and our friendships have just honestly become stronger".

Well, that's all very nice. If after that you'd like to have a blast of Hayley and band's new track 'Now', please do so.

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Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip have announced that they will release their second album as Neon Neon, entitled 'Praxis Makes Perfect', later this year. Their Mercury-nominated 2008 debut, 'Stainless Style', was a concept album based on the life of John Delorean. This time, they'll cover the life and times of 'Doctor Zhivago' author Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.

In addition to new recorded music, the duo are also putting together a live show for the album with playwright Tim Price, director Wils Wilson and National Theatre Wales. Tickets for the first run of shows, which will take place in an as-yet-unannounced Cardiff location, will take place from 2-5 May. Tickets are on sale now.

'Praxis Makes Perfect' will be released through Lex Records on 29 Apr. You can't hear any music from it yet, but you can look at this Tumblr blog.

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Former solo project of singer-songwriter Anastasia Dimou, now seemingly a full band, Feathers have announced that they will release their debut album, 'If All Now Here', on 15 Apr. Their debut single, the CMU Approved 'Land Of The Innocent', will be released on 4 Mar.

Listen to 'Land Of The Innocent' right here.

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Italian composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi is to grace various classical halls with his alt-classical oeuvre in April. Having released eleven studio LPs to date and soundtracked films like 'This Is England', 'Black Swan' and last year's French-speaking 'The Intouchables', he'll appear live in concert at the following:

11 Apr: Bristol, Colston Hall
14 Apr: Birmingham, Symphony Hall
15 Apr: Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
16 Apr: Edinburgh, Usher Hall
17 Apr: Gateshead, The Sage Gateshead
19 Apr: Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
20 Apr: Basingstoke, Anvil
21 Apr: Cambridge, Corn Exchange
22 Apr: London, Barbican
23 Apr: London, Barbican
24 Apr: Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall
25 Apr: Brighton, Dome
28 Apr: Cardiff, St David's Hall

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Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and jazz-folk great Michael Chapman are to share a series of national stages as part of their forthcoming 'Acoustic Guitars In An Electric Pairing' tour. Each of its six dates will consist of solo sets by each artist, followed by a collaborative one as a finale.

As a preview of what that may perhaps sound like, this is Moore's cover of Chapman original 'It Didn't Work Out', as features on a 2012 compilation of other such covers titled 'Oh Michael, Look What You've Done: Friends Play Michael Chapman':

And the dates are:

1 Feb: London, Purcell Room at South Bank Centre
2 Feb: Norwich, Arts Centre
3 Feb: Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
4 Feb: The Adelphi, De Grey St Hull
5 Feb: Preston, New Continental
7 Feb: Birmingham, Glee Club
8 Feb: Bristol, Colston Hall 2

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Live Nation having ended all commercial relations with the Royal Parks organisation in London - and thus moved its Hard Rock Calling and Wireless festivals to the Olympic Park to the east of the capital - Hyde Park will now play leafy central London-based host to rival promoter AEG Live's brand new event, the Barclaycard-backed British Summer Time.

It'll comprise two weekends of live music plus an intervening programme of film, theatre, literature and sport (and a "specific family day", whatever that may mean), and will be divided into four "themed zones" - each a veritable hive of "specially designed installations and entertainment, high quality restaurants, bespoke salons, pubs, cocktail bars, cafes, bistros and independent food stalls". Oh, and Bon Jovi are the first BST headliner, by the way.

Speaking for AEG Live, which has invested multi-millions of pounds in the five-year Royal Parks alliance, Event Director Jim King says: "After a great deal of planning and hard work, we are so proud to announce what will no doubt be an incredible event for London. We literally started with a blank canvas and in Barclaycard British Summer Time, we have created what we believe to be the ultimate in summer events".

Head Of Events at Royal Parks, James Russell, adds: "This is a new era for entertainment in Hyde Park. Hyde Park has such a wonderful heritage in hosting world-class concerts in the heart of London, dating back to 1969. Today, we are looking forward, and along with AEG Live, we are very excited to be bringing the Barclaycard British Summer Time event to this iconic location that is recognised around the world".

AEG has also said that it has commissioned an independent report into sound levels in Hyde Park - complaints from punters at Live Nation's events last year being that everything was too quiet, while nearby residents felt it was all too bloody loud. The result is that AEG has worked out a way to make everything louder but also quieter and "better for residents, customers and bands", said King. He claimed that when Live Nation was in charge, the "orientation and position of the stage" was all wrong, wrong wrong.

He added: "We worked the plan in terms of relocating that stage and orienting it away from the residents because previously it had been firing straight at them. The report is very clear, it shows an improvement whilst still maintaining the off-site limits that we need to uphold, so we're confident".

The Chairman of the Residents Society of Mayfair and St James, Anthony Lorenz, wasn't quite so confident, telling the BBC: "We all know it's a half-measure and that they want to satisfy Westminster in order to keep the concerts running. It is incredibly unfair to the people who live there, who might be having a peaceful garden party, while there's heavy bass music coming from the park".

That's possibly the first and last time you'll see Bon Jovi described as 'heavy bass music'.

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Ola! Primavera Sound grandly unveiled its 2013 line-up last night via a plush gala. Thrillingly, it features such A-star acts as Blur, My Bloody Valentine, Fiona Apple, The Postal Service, The Jesus And Mary Chain and - at the thrill-pinnacle - Wu-Tang Clan, who apparently have a new LP "in the works". Hold on tight.

Anyway, it's now time to look at itemised artist additions to the new Barclaycard-sponsored British Summer Time fest, 1980s nostalgia-bash Rewind Scotland, Hungarian pop fete Sziget, boutique party Farr Festival, Belgian rave Tomorrowland and Texan live titan South By Southwest aka SxSW. That last one has just enlisted Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds to perform live at an NPR Stubb's showcase, and also persuaded a lone Cave to appear 'in conversation' with cultish New York author Larry Ratso Sloman.

BARCLAYCARD BRITISH SUMMER TIME, Hyde Park, 28 Jun - 7 Jul: Bon Jovi.

FARR FESTIVAL, Bygrave Wood, Newnham, 19-21 Jul: Eats Everything, Jackmaster, Bicep, Maxxi Soundsystem, dBridge, Oneman, Waifs & Strays, Ben Pearce, Spectrasoul, Alix Perez, Ejeca, Spencer, South London Ordnance, Hannah Holland, Terry Farley, Redinho, Sophie, Christophe, Futureboogie, Skeptical, MC Fokus, SP:MC, Dan Beaumont, Rushmore, Thunder, Disco Bloodbath v The Idiots Are Winning, Pardon My French, Outboxx, Alfresco Disco, Sophie Lloyd, A.z.&T.o.r, Solid Gold, Park Ranger, Ollie D.A.B & Robin, Oscar, Jonny Cade, Aartekt, Jacques Adda, Squa, Croz, Sharkbait, Kitt Proudfoot, Numbers, Troupe Records, Flux, Ransom Note v Society.

PRIMAVERA SOUND, Parc del Forum, Barcelona, Spain, 22-26 May: Blur, My Bloody Valentine, Wu-Tang Clan, The Knife, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Phoenix, The Postal Service, Fiona Apple, Band Of Horses, Deerhunter, The Jesus And Mary Chain, James Blake, Dead Can Dance, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Tinariwen, Daniel Johnston, Neurosis, Dinosaur Jr, Hot Chip, The Breeders, Swans, Shellac, Hot Snakes, Bob Mould, John Talabot, Disclosure, Solange, Death Grips, Jessie Ware, Liars, Local Natives, Crystal Castles, Fuck Buttons.

REWIND SCOTLAND, Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland, 26-28 Jul: Ali Campbell's UB40, OMD, Kim Wilde, Mike & The Mechanics, Starship, Rick Astley, Howard Jones, Soul II Soul Sound System, Heather Small, A Flock Of Seagulls, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Captain Sensible, Odyssey, Level 42, Tony Hadley, Belinda Carlisle, Earth, Wind & Fire Experience feat Al McKay, Nik Kershaw, The Blow Monkeys, The Blockheads, Jason Donovan, Cutting Crew, Flying Pickets, Sonia.

SXSW, various venues, Austin, Texas, United States, 12-17 Mar: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

SZIGET, Danube, Budapest, Hungary, 7-12 Aug: Azealia Banks, Hadouken!, The Bots, Boys Noize, Triggerfinger, Oscar Mulero, Nicky Romero, Parov Stelar, Deichkind, Die Arzte, Seeed.

TOMORROWLAND, De Schorre, Boom, Belgium, 26-28 Jul: Steve Aoki, Marco Carola, Arty.

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Universal Music has announced the appointment of Ron Fair to the role of Exec VP and Chief Creative Officer of former EMI division Virgin Records in the US, an appointment that sees the Virgin Records brand re-kickstarted in the States, having been basically absorbed by Capitol Records there in recent years.

That said, promotions and other back-office tasks will still be handled by central Capitol departments, though Fair will have his own A&R and marketing teams. He will report into Capitol Music Group CEO Steve Barnett. A&R man and record producer Fair has previously worked at various majors in his thirty-year career, including both Universal and EMI, as well as dabbling in artist management.

As previously reported, in the UK former Island Records co-chief Ted Cockle will lead the newly acquired Virgin Records for Universal.

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MAMA & Company (as it's now known) has taken full ownership of the Lovebox festival, ahead of its tenth anniversary as an outdoor event this summer. Launched as a club night by Groove Armada's Andy Cato and Tom Findlay in 2002, it became a festival the following year. Originally a one-day event on Clapham Common, it now spans three days at East London's Victoria Park and has a capacity of 50,000.

MAMA CEO Dean James told CMU: "We have enjoyed working with Tom and Andy over the years, but the reality is that we have been running this festival since 2009. Two of the original founders, Tim Harvey and Jools Butterfield, are still very much part of the fabric of the event and working with Rob Silver, Rich McGinnis and Dave McCalmont, the future of the show is in good hands. Lovebox is London's best and most creative festival and we look forward to putting on a great party in Victoria Park this Summer on what will be Lovebox's tenth anniversary".

This year's Lovebox will take place from 19-21 Jul.

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Label services company Essential Music & Marketing has announced seven new deals with indie labels from the UK, US and Canada.

US labels Cult Records, Kanine Records and the Kemado Label Group will use Essential for physical and digital distribution in Europe, as will UK companies FatCat, Loose and Lex. Meanwhile the Canada-based Nettwerk Records has agreed a deal to cover the UK and Republic Of Ireland.

Essential MD Mike Chadwick told CMU: "Over the past ten years Essential's expertise in marketing and distribution has forged a compelling proposition for record labels all over the world - putting our clients' interests first, adding value and helping their artists access and break new territories. Today's announcement represents a significant volume of new business and, on our part, a major statement of intent for 2013".

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Also announcing label deals yesterday was the UK division of distribution firm INgrooves, which has struck up a long-term distribution partnership with British indie Full Time Hobby providing physical and digital distribution in North America, capitalising in part on INgrooves' merger last year with the more traditional music distribution business of Fontana.

Also confirmed this week are recent INgrooves deals with Berlin-based Boys Noize, dubstep label Circus Records, Ireland's Small Town America, and on a drum n bass tip, Goodlooking and the label ventures of producers Black Sun Empire and Noisia.

INgrooves' Quentin Chambers told CMU: "We are thrilled to be working with such inspirational labels and artists. Our recent high profile label signings are testament to INgrooves growing stature internationally, a reputation being built on our world class services and distribution of the highest quality music".

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US-based fan engagement set-up BandPage has announced a further expansion of its platform integrations, so that bands can now use the service to manage fan communications via Twitter, SoundCloud and Pandora's concert listings channel, as well as Facebook.

Perhaps best known for helping artists manage their Facebook pages, BandPage now allows users to manage various online profiles from a central control panel, and in some cases to add extra functionality to their social network activity.

Commenting on recent enhancements, BandPage Founder and CEO J Sider told CMU: "We're always looking to bring more value to artists and we're very proud of these new integrations. These expansions of our platform advance our objective of helping fans connect with the artists they love".

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Metadata and app development company The Echo Nest has hired two new employees from leading metadata firm Gracenote, reports The Next Web. Both come from the Gracenote sales division, with John Sierotko joining the Nest as Chief Revenue Officer and Scott Ryan the new VP of Sales. At Gracenote they were SVP of Worldwide Sales & Marketing and VP of Sales respectively.

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CueSongs, one of the digital licensing agencies trying to make it easier for smaller content producers to licence music for sync, has announced a deal with one of YouTube's 'official original channels', which will see the music rights firm provide all of the video channel's music. As previously reported, CueSongs was launched at MIDEM a year ago by Ed Averdieck and Peter Gabriel.

The channel now signed up to the service is called the Global Cycling Network and, as you might guess, covers the world of cycling. The deal with CueSongs will allow GCN to easily tap into music from labels and publishers represented by the agency, which includes Sony, Ministry Of Sound, A Songs and Distiller.

Confirming the deal, GCN Creative Director Vix Box told CMU: "We are very excited by this agreement with CueSongs as high-quality commercial music, rather than library music, is essential for our output, and CueSongs offers us a wide range of commercial music that appeals to our global audience and meets our volume of diverse content. Working with CueSongs guarantees us the latest sounds to accompany the latest cycling news - it is a great step forward for the way music is licensed on the internet".

CueSongs' Justin McMullen added: "Cycling was already popular prior to the 2012 Olympic Games, but its profile, greatly enhanced by the Games, has now reached new levels of prominence. With demand growing rapidly, online channels like Global Cycling Network need to access large amounts of music fast, based on a high turnover. A digital blanket license of this kind makes a broad and varied choice of music readily available and it is a great way for the online broadcast industry to solve their music and synchronisation needs".

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Marnie Stern, or rather Marnie Stern's 'people', is (are) looking for love. For her, not themselves, that is. NYC-based label Kill Rock Stars - which, by no strange coincidence, is also promoting Stern's new LP, 'The Chronicles Of Marnia', in advance of its 18 Mar release date - has posted a 'WLTM'-style ad on her behalf that begins:

"Hipster guys, are you tired of seeing Marnie Stern have relationships with an endless array of losers and bores? Don't you think a guitarist as great as Marnie should have someone special to watch 'Law And Order SVU' with? Do you enjoy petting dogs while eating chicken wings? And honestly, don't you think a nice, positively cute, 30-something Jewish girl should meet the man of her dreams? We sure do!"

Applicants must live in New York City, be "gainfully employed", have a GSOH and, preferably, share zero qualities with either "a drug addict, a slacker, or a vegan". The label says it will pay for a first date only, but all and any dates thereafter are to be funded by the winning beau.

Apply now.

This is the newest track to be shared from the 'Chronicles Of Marnia' cache, as is entitled 'East Side Glory'.

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