18 SEP 2013

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Folk musician Sam Lee came to wider prominence last year when his debut album, 'Ground Of Its Own', was nominated for the Mercury Prize. In preparing that record Lee travelled around Britain learning traditional songs as he went, including spending time with various gypsy and traveller communities. And now, on 4 Oct, he will bring these songs back to the live stage with a performance at Union Chapel in London, support coming from This Is The Kit. Before that, we asked Sam to put together a playlist for us more>>
First/last approved in late 2012, US Girls - aka Megan Remy - today merits a re-play via new track 'Overtime', which previews an EP titled 'Free Advice Column' she's releasing next week. Treading the same strange margins as my main highlight of her last LP 'Gem' - 'North On 45' - 'Overtime' is ultra-drive girl pop gone gaga (with a small 'g'), snip and pasting Remy's shrill Shangri La-isms, the ghostly chinking of a far-off piano and, stashed right at the back, a trashcan piano rattle more>>

- Love countersues former lawyer in ongoing defamation case
- New paper disputes claim that MegaUpload helped mid-sized movies
- As I Lay Dying's Tim Lambesis will stand trial for soliciting murder of wife
- Pavarotti to take belated lifetime prize at Classic BRITs
- MTV EMA nominations announced
- Grizzly Bear expand on Shields
- Chromeo confirm LP
- Michael Bublé lists 2014 shows
- Katy B to play one-off XOYO show
- Ringmaster festival cancelled
- Rough Trade NYC to open in November
- Kobalt appoint president for US label services business
- Ticket ABC moves into Canadian market
- The Pirate Bay drops artist promotion service
- Radio Academy appoints new CEO
- JLS' Marvin Humes to co-present The Voice
- Beyonce hugged off stage - but show goes on
- Britney announces Vegas residency with shambolic desert press conference
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So, now Courtney Love is countersuing the lawyer who sued her in 2011 over allegations of Twitter defamation. Love is claiming that the litigious lawyer also defamed her in a 2009 letter. The lawyer claims the letter is a fake. Ah, good times.

As previously reported, attorney Rhonda Holmes worked for Love for a time after the singer claimed the estate of her late husband Kurt Cobain was being mismanaged, and that individuals unknown were stealing from the late Nirvana frontman's assets and posthumous earnings, in doing so ripping off her and the couple's daughter Frances Bean.

But Love and Holmes then fell out, with the Hole singer taking to Twitter to announce that she had fired the legal lady because she had been "bought off" by the very people she was meant to be investigating over the mishandling of the Cobain estate. Holmes, who strongly denied those claims, subsequently sued for defamation.

That case is ongoing, though reps for Holmes say an out of court settlement was initially reached, but Love breached the terms of the deal by going on the Howard Stern radio show and discussing the dispute. So now Love is seeking court approval to counter sue over a letter Holmes allegedly sent to Frances Bean in 2009 and which, Love says, she's only discovered as a result of preparing to defend herself against the original defamation litigation.

In the letter, Holmes seems to tell Cobain Junior, sixteen at the time, that she is representing her interests as well as those of Love, and explains that she is working to track down and prosecute "people and entities who have been stealing from and pillaging your late Father's estate since the day he passed away".

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the letter goes on: "You are ALL the unfortunate victims of a very large and very scary conspiracy. I have personally experienced the reach and criminality of these thieves, they have hacked into my PCs (on one such occasion, to make my legal brief in this very case 'disappear'), used my credit cards all over the county; and accessed/drained my savings account".

Love says that Holmes had no right to send the letter, that the lawyer was not representing Frances Bean at the time, and that the correspondence contained "unduly personal", "bizarre" and "solicitous" statements that caused the breakdown of Love's relationship with her daughter, and with Cobain's mother and sister who became France Bean's legal guardians.

In late 2009 a restraining order stopped Love from contacting her daughter, and it subsequently emerged that shortly after that the singer lost control of the company that manages the late Cobain's publicity rights.

If her countersuit goes ahead, Love will seek damages for the statements made in the letter and the emotional distress it caused in contributing to the breakdown of her relationship with her daughter. But legal reps for Holmes reportedly claim that their client didn't write the letter in question, with allegations Love herself may have penned it. And her attorneys told the Reporter "we view this as an act of desperation".

So that's all fun. More to come we suspect.

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The Motion Picture Association Of America has welcomed a paper published by the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies which questions that previously reported piece of research that claimed that the shutdown of MegaUpload had had a detrimental effect on smaller independent film releases.

The Hollywood trade body, of course, lobbied hard against file-transfer site MegaUpload while it was still running, them seeing it as a prolific enabler of movie piracy, and therefore welcomed the action by the US government that led to the controversial website being shutdown. And the trade body later told the Office Of The US Trade Representative that the closure of MegaUpload had been a "massive" benefit for copyright owners around the world.

But last month research from the University Of Munich and the Copenhagen Business School claimed that, while the closure of MegaUpload and the resulting reduction in movie piracy had likely contributed to a slight increase in revenues for blockbuster movies, mid-sized films had likely lost out, because file-transfer sites enabled peer-to-peer promotion of films that couldn't afford massive advertising campaigns, and that could result in more tickets sold at the cinema.

However, Dr George Ford of the Phoenix Center argues that the Munich and Copenhagen academics reached that conclusion because of "a poorly-designed statistical model" and a misunderstanding of the economics of the film industry. The study, therefore, Ford reckons, "adds nothing constructive to the debate - save a little excitement".

A key problem Ford has with the Munich/Copenhagen report is how the researchers defined big and mid-sized movies. He says they did so based on how many screens a film was shown on during its first weekend which, Ford says, ignores the fact some movies open small but expand out to many more screens in the following weeks.

Welcoming Ford's paper, the MPAA wrote in a blog post on Monday: "Individuals who watch pirated films online do not discriminate based on a film's size, and a review of the academic evidence available finds that in fact online piracy does hurt sales".

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Christian metal band As I Lay Dying's frontman Tim Lambesis will stand trial for allegedly attempting to hire a hitman to kill his estranged wife, it was decided following a preliminary hearing earlier this week.

As previously reported, Lambesis was arrested in San Diego in May after allegedly asking an undercover police officer to murder his wife, Meggan Lambesis, handing over a $1000 down payment, photographs and the security code to her home, and three potential dates on which to carry out the killing, as he would be with the couple's three adopted children which would provide him with an alibi.

The undercover police officer, Howard Bradley, was one of a number of witnesses to testify at Monday's hearing. He claimed that he had met Lambesis in a book shop where the singer had told him that he wanted his wife "gone". When Bradley specifically asked Lambesis if he wanted his wife dead, Lambesis replied, "Yes, I do", the officer claimed. He also said that Lambesis had concluded the conversation by saying: "Just to clarify, just so you know, I do want her dead".

Police reportedly began their investigation after being tipped off that Lambesis had asked a personal trailer at his gym to put him in touch with a hitman. Although Lambesis has previously entered a plea of not guilty, his defence attorney Thomas Warwick, who presented no arguments at this week's hearing, has also said that his client's judgement had been impaired by steroids he was taking to help with bodybuilding.

Lambesis is currently free on $2 million bail, conditions of with see him forced to wear an electronic tag and barred from contacting his wife or their children. His next hearing is set for 22 Oct.

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This year's Classic BRITs will pay homage to Luciano Pavarotti via a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award.

The late opera star was, in fact, first invited to take the prize back in 2007, but his death that year meant he never got to pick it up in person. Presumably its taken the BRITS team six years to forgive him for the no-show. His widow, Nicoletta Mantovani-Pavarotti, will accept the award on his behalf at the Mylene Klass-compered ceremony on 2 Oct.

Chiming in at the same time, Co-Chairmen of the Classic BRITS board, Decca Records President Dickon Stainer and Avie Records MD Barry McCann say: "The Classic BRITs Lifetime Achievement Award is reserved for those artists that have truly made an impact on the world with their music and performances, and Luciano Pavarotti is arguably the most deserving of all. We are so thrilled that six years after our original invitation, this award can finally be bestowed".

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The MTV European Music Awards are coming. The EMAs as your mate Burt likes to call them. It's exciting isn't it? Are you excited? I'm excited. I bet your mate Burt is falling over with the excitement. And you'll be even more excited when I tell you that Justin Timberlake and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis both have five nominations each. OH MY FUCKING GOD! Plus there's a particularly strong line up in the Best Look category this year, so I'm totally looking forward to seeing who gets that.

But we'll all have to contain all this excitement about finding out who the most popular people in Europe are this year until 10 Nov when the prizes will be handed out at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. Given that Holland is a lot more liberal than the US, we can presumably expect something a lot more raunchy that rather reserved performance Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus' turned in at the VMAs last month, so that's something else to look forward to.

Until then you'll have to make do with this SUPER EXCITING list of all the nominees. EXCITING.

Best Song: Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven, Daft Punk - Get Lucky (feat Pharrell Williams), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Thrift Shop (feat Wanz), Rihanna - Diamonds, Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines (feat TI & Pharrell)

Best Video: Justin Timberlake - Mirrors, Lady Gaga - Applause, Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball, Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines (feat TI & Pharrell), 30 Seconds To Mars - Up In The Air

Best Female: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift

Best Male: Bruno Mars, Eminem, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake

Best Live: Beyoncé, Green Day, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Taylor Swift

Best New: Bastille, Icona Pop, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Rudimental

Best Pop: Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Taylor Swift

Best Rock: Black Sabbath, Green Day, Kings Of Leon, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Killers

Best Alternative: Arctic Monkeys, Fall Out Boy, Franz Ferdinand, Paramore, 30 Seconds To Mars

Best Hip Hop: Drake, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Electronic: Afrojack, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, Skrillex

Biggest Fans: Tokio Hotel, 30 Seconds To Mars, One Direction, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga

Best Look: Harry Styles, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Rita Ora

Best MTV Push Artist: Karmin, Rudimental, Imagine Dragons, A$AP Rocky, Bastille, Austin Mahone, Bridgit Mendler, Tom Odell, Iggy Azalea, Icona Pop, Twenty One Pilots

Best MTV World Stage Performance: Alicia Keys, fun., Garbage, Green Day, Jason Mraz, Jessie J, Linkin Park, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, No Doubt, Paramore, Rita Ora, Robin Thicke, Snoop Lion, The Black Keys, The Killers

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Folk-rock loyalists Grizzly Bear are to release deluxe-type variations on their 2012 LP 'Shields'.

One is an 'Expanded' edition featuring the original tracklisting and eight additional B-sides, demos and remixes (by Nicolas Jaar, Liars and Lindstrøm); whilst the other, 'Shields: B-Sides', has only the eight extras.

Hear one of said extras, a first draft of 'Shields' track 'Will Calls', made in Marfa, Texas in the early stages of the original LP's creation, now.

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Kitsch disco-pop types Chromeo have given their new LP a bad taste title, and that bad taste title is 'White Women'. Lead into the light by the band's new single, 'Over Your Shoulder', it'll be released "soon".

The groovy 'Over Your Shoulder', which rips off Chic quite nicely, is payable/downloadable via this SoundCloud thing. And here it is again, this time backing a 'White Women' teaser trailer.

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'The' Michael Bublé will sing winningly during a just-announced 2014 tour, this in continued support of his "yummy" sixth LP, 'To Be Loved'.

Stopping first at Manchester's Phones 4U Arena (1-4 Mar), the Bublé circus will move on to Glasgow's The Hydro (8-9 Mar), pitching at Birmingham's NIA on 12-13 Mar.

The lack of London-based listings is, naturally, because of the ten-date stint he played in the capital earlier this year. Filmed live in the midst of that same residency, this is the clip for Mike's magical new Bryan Adams-featuring single 'After All'.

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Hot off her approved new single '5am', Katy B has confirmed a one-off show in London. B plays XOYO - which is kind of on the 'intimate' side of things given her chart standing - on 1 Oct. Katy fans can bag tickets this Friday (20 Sep), via this link I'm linking to now.

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One more to strike off that 'cancelled festivals' bingo table now, as the team at sapling Worcestershire fest Ringmaster call time on what was to be their first ever event, blaming "financial implications".

Releasing a fairly last minute statement - given Ringmaster was meant to take place 27-28 Sep featuring Maximo Park, Hadouken!, Mystery Jets and the like - the event's HQ writes that "as the festival entered the final stages it found itself in a financial position and as a result was no longer able to guarantee the appropriate monies owed to the bands and other parties at this stage. It is after careful consideration that Ringmaster has decided to unfortunately cancel this year's event".

And: "Ringmaster would like to thank everyone that has supported, been involved with and help spread the name over the past few months and would like to offer everyone their sincere apologies, in what has become a horrendous and saddening situation".

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Still aiming to 'break' the States, Rough Trade Retail has confirmed a 25 Nov opening date for its first American branch, as was first announced last spring. Based at a large - as in, thrice as big as Rough Trade East - warehouse space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (where else?), the store will have a zone for patrons to 'chill' and socialise, and a live area for free sets and ticketed shows promoted by The Bowery Presents.

Speaking to Billboard, Rough Trade's Stephen Godfroy said that opening of the NYC shop had been delayed due to "numerous obstacles in the construction planning and building process", and outlined his vision for the store, which - it hardly needs to be said - capitalises on the boom in vinyl sales going on of late: "The emphasis will be on music the art, not the commodity. In that respect, it will be true to our London stores, places where music and culture lovers of all ages and taste congregate and celebrate what it means to be independent".

Showing big love for NY, he adds: "This city demands something truly special, and hopefully that's what we can achieve in collaboration with the people that visit and go on to define the space over the months and years to come. The store is a way of saying 'thank you' for the joy and inspiration NYC has given us with its music and culture".

To help explain to Americans what the experience of being inside one of its shops is like, Rough Trade has prepared this short animation.

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Another hire at Kobalt, this time on the label services side of the growing empire, which has appointed Diarmuid Quinn as its President for North America. The former Warner Bros Records COO will be charged with the task of expanding Kobalt's newish label services business Stateside.

Confirming the appointment, Kobalt Label Services Chairman Richard Sanders told CMU: "With numerous successful releases by KLS thus far this year, and the increased demand by major artists for our label services, we are very pleased to bring on Diarmuid Quinn at this strategic time to lead our North American KLS team. His broad experience in developing acts and marketing/promotion for major artists will be a tremendous asset to our clients. Kobalt is changing the music industry, and Diarmuid Quinn is the right person to help us execute our vision".

Meanwhile Quinn himself said: "The past few years have seen an incredible transformation in the music business, and Kobalt has emerged with the right vision for the future. Artist ownership, creative control, and transparency in the label space are a musician's dream that Kobalt has brought to reality, and I look forward to working with the incredible team that Willard and Richard have assembled going forward".

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Dublin-based ticketing technology firm Ticket ABC has announced its move into the Canadian market via an alliance with this month's Pop Montreal festival. The event is using the firm's white-label ticketing platform, already used in the UK by the likes of Fabric, Pacha and Kilimanjaro.

Confirming the deal with Pop Montreal, Ticket ABC's CEO Mark McLaughlin told CMU: "We are delighted to be working with Pop Montreal, one of Canada's most innovative music promoters. Launching in Canada is an exciting development for Ticket ABC, especially as Montreal is one of the world's greatest music and cultural cities".

He continued: "In three years Ticket ABC's clients have evolved from small venues selling a hundred general admission tickets to now promoters such as selling reserved seating tickets in some of Europe's biggest arenas. Launching in Canada is the next step as we look to continue to grow the company both in Europe and North America".

Meanwhile Pop Montreal's Aaron Smith added: "We're delighted to be using Ticket ABC to sell tickets for this year's Pop Montreal Festival. With no upfront costs, Ticket ABC enables our bilingual customers to purchase tickets online in both English and en Français. We also have full control on ticket prices, real time sales information and all our customer data".

Confirmation of the move into the North American market comes as Ticket ABC launch an app that enables venues and promoters to scan tickets booked via the firm's platform via iOS or Android-powered smart phones.

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The Pirate Bay has dropped the Promo Bay artist promotion service from the front page of its main website.

As previously reported, The Promo Bay initially began as a feature on The Pirate Bay itself, before being spun off into a separate site last year. That site will continue to run as normal, but under the original scheme the real attraction for artists to submit their work to The Promo Bay was that it might be promoted on the The Pirate Bay home page, giving them exposure to the site's large daily audience. That is no longer an option.

The frequency with which Promo Bay acts were promoted on the The Pirate Bay home page has decreased of late, seemingly since the departure of one of the people behind The Promo Bay venture, Tobias Andersson.

Asked about the decision to now ditch his former feature by TorrentFreak, Andersson did not mince his words, saying: "The Pirate Bay not continuing with The Promo Bay is just more evidence of the site going stale. It's not the rebellious, energetic and progressive site it once was. It's bloated with ads, more than ever, worse than ever. Nothing is said, nothing is done".

He added that TPB has lost the edge it once had over other file-sharing sites, saying: "It's just another site. Which is sad since it once was something completely different. It didn't used to be just a site, it was a concept of a better internet. Sure, most people only want the site for Hollywood movies and mainstream music. But any site could do that. There are hundreds of sites like that. I see no value in TPB continuing. The best thing would be if it shut down now, to mark ten years of resistance, resiliency and a stance for the free internet".

I'm sure there are plenty of people reading who would agree with him. At least in part.

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The Radio Academy has confirmed the appointment of a new CEO in the form of Paul Robinson, who worked at various local radio stations at the start of his career before taking management roles at what was then Talk Radio and the BBC. In more recent years he has worked mainly within the TV industry.

Confirming that Robinson would now lead the membership organisation, which brings together radio professionals from both the BBC and commercial sector, Radio Academy Chair (and Radio 1 boss) Ben Cooper told CMU: "I'm excited about Paul creating a new energy at the Academy, which will help us celebrate and inspire this, and the next, generation of people in the radio industry".

Meanwhile Robinson himself said: "Having spent the last fifteen years working in digital and television for Hollywood studios I am thrilled to return to the medium that is closest to my heart. It will be an honour to work with the entire radio industry to promote excellence in this wonderful industry".

So that's all good. And if only this story hadn't made my suggestible brain go and search out this video on YouTube, well, all would be glorious.

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Emma Willis will not have to single-handedly fill the void left (or perhaps the vacuum caused) by Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates when she joins the next series of 'The Voice UK', because it's been announced that she will have a co-presenter. Former JLS star Marvin Humes is to bring his experience of being on a telly talent show to the table. So that's nice.

Announcing the news, Humes said: "I have always been a big fan of ['The Voice'] and love that musicians are given such a great opportunity to reach such a wide audience. I'm thrilled to be working alongside Emma and to be a part of a new team on 'The Voice'. It's going to be even bigger and better with this new series. I can't wait to start".

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Beyonce is ever the pro. Topless man tries to pull her off stage and carry her away for who knows what purpose, yet Mrs Carter insists that security don't evict the guy, and instead shakes his hand.

Actually, I think the audience member at Beyonce's concert in Sao Paulo last weekend was executing a rather over-enthusiastic hug that accidentally pulled the pop lady onto the ground, but unsurprisingly the singer's security guards quickly pounced on the hugger.

But Beyonce told the bouncers "it's alright, it's alright", before shaking the man's hand and asking his name. Which is all very admirable. Though what message is she sending out to shirtless uber-huggers all over the world? Expect the singer to be attached to a long piece of elastic on her next tour.

Here's all the action

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Britney Spears is going to play 50 'greatest hits' shows at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas over the course of two years, starting on 27 Dec. Ticket prices will start at $59, and they will go on general sale on 20 Sep. Oh, and her new album will be out on 3 Dec.

And there, ladies and gentlemen, are the three sentences it took an hour and a half to say in possibly the most shambolic press conference of all time yesterday. For some reason, it was decided that this should be announced first thing in the morning in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Partly this was so that Britney could give a live interview on TV show 'Good Morning, America', partly it was because, well you have to do something, don't you? I don't actually know what Britney said in that interview though, because I was too busy glued to the incredible live stream on her official website.

Thanks to Nevada being three hours behind New York, where 'GMA' is filmed, live stream host Courtney Friel was clearly lacking enough sleep and grew increasingly delirious throughout the broadcast. After an hour of filming a few hundred Britney fans standing in the dark in the desert and interviewing the odd key figure involved, basically filling time, the star of the show finally arrived. She walked down a red carpet (wearing boots, because of all the sand, we were informed by Friel), did a three minute interview for 'GMA' (which we couldn't hear on the live stream) with her back to her waiting fans, then got back in her car and drove off.

Here is where things got really compelling. Britney had apparently been hit by motion sickness in the helicopter on the flight to the event (hence her hasty departure), but Friel, and apparently the rest of the crew, seemed convinced that she was going to come back. Cue time filling of epic proportions by a woman who is increasingly succumbing to the effects of the dangerous combination of forced enthusiasm and no sleep.

There will be a sunset at some point, she informed us several times. "THERE'S A DRONE", she screamed shortly before the broadcast was called to a halt. And throughout, she insisted that Britney was coming back, no matter how apparent it became that this was not the case. At one point she even interviewed the editor of a Britney fansite about how great it had been for Britney's fans to see their idol, even though they pretty much hadn't.

As you can tell, the live stream was infinitely more interesting than the announcement itself. And PRAISE THE LORD, Gawker has edited together highlights of this wondrous broadcast for us all to enjoy (though I'm still holding out for a Blu-ray release of the whole thing).

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