CMU Daily - on the inside 2 Mar 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In the CMU Daily:
- More nomination chances at the Junos
- REM close to finishing next album
- Darkness not quite gold - yet
- Michael thinks Blair is the Big Issue
- Live Review: Amp Fiddler @ Jazz Café 
- Breakspoll winners
- New Who may feature Entwistle bassline
- Vaughan start date set
- Clapton drops two tracks from his set
- GWR launch download service
- Post-takeover Warner gossip
- Leeds / Reading tickets go on sale
- Major labels show interest in Danger Mouse
- Annie Lennox takes musical Oscar
- Beckham DVD not selling so well
- Sedgley's happy track due for release
- Church working with Chambers and Barlow on pop tracks
- Electric Eel Shock sign to German punk label
- 4AD sign Scott Walker
- Gatecrasher and Fantazia men launch new dance venture
- EP Review: The Needles - Under The City 
- More Busted arena dates
- Frost joins the Atomic cat fight

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MORE NOMINATION CHANCES AT THE JUNOS
More stress over at the Canadian Brits - the Junos. Following the mysterious news yesterday that Rockit 88 had been added to the Best Blues Album nominations list at the last minute - it became clear yesterday that they were filling a gap left by Canadian blues artist David Gogo, whose album 'Live At Deer Lake' was struck off the shortlist after judges deemed it ineligible. 

Despite being checked by various people at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences before being added to the initial nominations list, it seems Gogo's album 'Live At Deer Lake' does not, in fact, fulfil one of the requirements of eligibility - that the album must feature at least 25% original material. 

CARAS themselves made no comment on the nomination withdrawal, concentrating instead on the Rockit 88 addition. However a statement from Gogo's label, Vancouver based Cordova Bay, explained the mistake was caused by confusion over the meaning of the word "cut".

Label boss Michael Burke told reporters: "When I was going through the submission process - an online step-by-step web application - the eligibility requirement was for no more then 75 percent of the 'cuts' being on previous albums by the artist. Since 'Live at Deer Lake' was a new recording none of the 'cuts' had been released before - my definition of 'cut' meaning recorded performance. However, CARAS means no 'composition' can have been released on previous albums".

Burke added he was disappointed that the misunderstanding wasn't discovered prior to nominations being released: "The submission went through their [CARAS's] initial screening and also appeared to go through the category review and nomination process. We heard last week that there was some discussion about the album at the final meeting, but after rereading the rules it was nominated. The problem was discovered when the nominated albums were sent to the judges. I am disappointed in the way they have handled the situation".

Gogo himself said in a statement: "It's an unfortunate circumstance and undoubtedly difficult for everyone involved. That said, I've been doing a lot of writing for a new studio album that I'm really excited about and with any luck, perhaps we'll get another shot at a Juno Award next year".

The nominations process for this year's Junos has not gone smoothly of course. The latest change follows the last minute addition of Nickelback to the Best Album category after it was found a miscalculation of sales figures had deprived the band a place in the nominations list which, for that category, is meant to be the best selling five albums of the year. 

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REM CLOSE TO FINISHING NEXT ALBUM
REM's Michael Stipe has told Virgin Radio that the band have just completed an intensive spell of recording in the Bahamas and as a result the follow up to 2001's 'Reveal' is practically complete. He added that the band intend an extensive world tour once the album is released.

Stipe: "We're finishing our next studio album. We're working on 22 songs and, of those, we have 16 finished. So we're just kind of trying to figure out what songs we can put together to make the best record we can make. It seems like everything is either very, very quiet or very, very loud... there doesn't seem to be much in between. Right now feels like a time when the songs are really just flowing out of us. Not to sound like a hippy, but there it is. We've got a lot of material and we're just kind of refining it and trying to get the best possible recorded version of it in the studio and tinker around with that".

On the tour: "The record will come out some time in the Fall and we'll be on the road for probably six to eight months and I'm really looking forward to it".

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DARKNESS NOT QUITE GOLD - YET
Hold back on those 'Darkness Go Gold' stories - for a few weeks anyway. It seems all those reports that 'Permission To Land' has gone gold in the US were a little premature. According to last Friday's official American sales figures from Nielsen Soundscan the album has sold just 304,000 - putting it 196,000 off the gold disk stage.

According to Australian music website Undercover, the story began with Warners division Atlantic, who release The Darkness' recordings in the States. They announced that they had shipped half a million albums to stores in the US without dwelling on the fact that nearly 40% of those albums were yet to actually be bought by consumers. The media translated that news into the 'Darkness Go Gold' story.

Although few doubt The Darkness will sell in excess of 500,000 units within the next six weeks, Undercover says the Atlantic announcement is akin to a trend they have been covering in Australia - record labels give the impression an album has gone gold before it actually has in order to create a renewed media buzz - which in turn encourages more sales and helps make the story true.

Undercover writes: "The record industry has made a habit of prematurely awarding titles over the last couple of years. One industry insider told us it has a lot to do with the drop-off in actual sales and the need to put an early positive spin on a record to get the excitement going. In the case of The Darkness it has worked".

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MICHAEL THINKS BLAIR IS THE BIG ISSUE
George Michael is doing politics again. With his first album since his reunion with Sony - 'Patience' - out this month, Michael has been ranting in an exclusive interview with the Big Issue. 

Michael: "I can't imagine what it feels like for people who lost their kids [in the Iraq War] to hear Tony Blair's pathetic little bleatings that he still thinks the world is a safer place. It's disrespectful. I wish to God that the Labour Party had the guts to get rid of Blair, because it could survive another election without him. I think it's too important for world affairs that he's gone. I think globally he is a dangerous man. He is an altruist who thinks he's doing everything for the best, but he cannot face up to his own ego".

On things more musical, Michael said he was optimistic this album would be a success: "I always believed I would outlast everyone with the possible exception of Madonna. And I honestly believe that with this record, I will finally be on the same page with everybody else. I think it will be an undeniable year".

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LIVE REVIEW: Amp Fiddler @ Jazz Café 26 Feb
For an American artist who doesn't even have a deal in the US yet, Amp Fiddler has had a massive amount of coverage, airtime and positive-hype surrounding him; selling out Camden's Jazz Café on two consecutive nights. Put into context Slum Village stable-mate Dwele and soul/jazz producer George Duke failed to do the same on one night. The sixth person to walk on stage, Amp Fiddler was received with the kind of adulation that a homecoming superstar would be lucky to witness, and launched into an amazing set of reinterpreted jazz-length improvisations of his material, which saw him frequently take to the Moog for some twisted synth action a la Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters. With a crowd rapport and musical dexterity to match any of the most experienced live acts, Amp and his bassist, keyboardist, drummer and two singers gave the Jazz Café such a soul-stretching and heart-warming debut that no man or woman left not singing a refrain: "I believe in you..." [I was surprised to see Chris Morris standing head and shoulders above the crowd near the back with his glass of red wine in hand. I was more surprised to see that, although still not smiling, he was bobbing his noggin like all the hoody-clad flat cap headz at the front.] A true talent, one that we will no doubt doubt be hearing from when his brilliant 'Waltx of a Ghetto Fly' album sees US release. JG

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BREAKSPOLL WINNERS
Here it is - the winners list from last week's Breakspoll, the main awards event for the ever-expanding breaks scene. 

Best DJ - Adam Freeland
MVP - Rennie Pilgrem
Best Label - Fingerlickin'
Best Retailer - Vinyl Addiction
Best Single - 2 Freaks (Rennie & BLIM)
Best Website - www.nuskoolbreaks.co.uk
Best Producer - Plump DJ's
Best Remix - Emit / Collect (Rennie Pilgrem)
Best New Label - Streetwise
Best Club - Spectrum
Best New Act - Friendly
Best Radio Station - Breaks FM
Best Magazine - MOFO
Face of Breaks - Adam Freeland
Best Album - Eargasm (Plump DJ's)

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NEW WHO MAY FEATURE ENTWISTLE BASSLINE
Although Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have hired in session musicians to help them with their new album, Daltrey has told Virgin Radio that a bass line recorded by the late John Entwistle just before his untimely death may well feature. 

On working without Entwistle, Daltrey said: "He'll be missed. We were with John for 38 years and when you've been with someone that long it is an incredible connection. How can we carry on without John? What is extraordinary is when you get up there and there's two of us and there's Pino Palladino on bass, you can still hear John playing because the music is so structured. You get an instinct for what their input would have been and I think Pete's musical ability will write a bass part that would be John's bass. We've got a rehearsal tape of John playing one of the songs. We are thinking about using it on the album".

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VAUGHAN START DATE SET
So, expect mug shots of Jono Coleman, Chris Moyles, Christian O'Connell and Johnny Vaughan all over town in the coming weeks. Capital Radio yesterday announced that Chris Tarrant will present his final breakfast show after 20 years in the slot on 2 Apr. New boy Johnny Vaughan will then take over on 19 Apr. So long have we awaited the post-Tarrant Capital it should be interesting to finally see if his departure has any major effect on the RAJARs, Capital's share price and the quality of morning radio in London.

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CLAPTON DROPS TWO TRACKS FROM HIS SET
Eric Clapton has confirmed he plans to drop two of his best-known songs from his live set now he is in a happier place. The two tracks - 'Tears in Heaven' and 'My Father's Eyes' - relate to the tragic loss of his four year old son back in 1991. 

Clapton explains: "I didn't feel the loss anymore, which is so much a part of performing those songs. I really have to connect with the feelings that were there when I wrote them. They're kind of gone and I really don't want them to come back, particularly. My life is a different life now."

Filling the gaps may be two of the four new Clapton tracks that will appear in the iTunes catalogue today. The tracks - 'When You Got A Good Friend', 'Come On In My Kitchen', 'Milkcow Calf Blues' and 'If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day' - all come from Clapton's forthcoming new album, which is due out on 22 Mar.

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GWR LAUNCH DOWNLOAD SERVICE
With the 'digital download' bandwagon now gaining momentum, radio group GWR are the latest to announce a music download service. Built around the group's The Mix local stations and The Core national digital station, the OD2 powered service will initially sell the ten most played current tracks with the slogan - "Hear It, Buy It, Burn It". The group hopes the catalogue will grow over time.

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POST-TAKEOVER WARNER GOSSIP
And so the gossip begins. Although there are yet to be any official external announcements about planned changes at the Warner Music Group post Edgar Bronfman Jnr's takeover, the grapevine went into overdrive yesterday as, with the takeover now complete, the initial round of promotions and departures began.

It seems likely that Warner divisions Atlantic and Elektra will be merged - and to that end the departure of Atlantic co-chairman Val Azzoli and co-president Ron Shapiro was confirmed internally yesterday, while Elektra topgun Sylvia Rhone also announced she was leaving the Group. 

Atlantic's other president Craig Kallman and head of imprint Lava Records Jason Flom are likely to run the merged division, with Atlantic's other chairman, Ahmet Ertegun, staying on in a figurehead top role. 

Elsewhere in Warners news, the New York Post yesterday reported that fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger is one of a group of Bronfman's friends who stepped in with a "small investment" in the record company after Haim Saban and private equity group Quadrangle dropped out of the takeover deal. That said, the investment wasn't so small - Hilfinger reportedly put in $25 million. Then again Bronfman himself is said to have increased his personal investment from $50 million to $250 million after his investment partners pulled out.

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LEEDS / READING TICKETS GO ON SALE
Mean Fiddler yesterday put on sale the first helping of tickets for the Reading and Leeds festivals - even though no line up information has been announced. Like Glastonbury - who traditionally (though less so this year) hold back on announcing their line up until all tickets are sold - the festival's promoters reckon people will start buying tickets on the promise of a strong line up when it is eventually confirmed. Weekend tickets, including camping, are £111.

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MAJOR LABELS SHOW INTEREST IN DANGER MOUSE
Well you know what they say - there's no such thing as a bad 'cease and desist' letter. Following all the hype surrounding Danger Mouse's 'Grey Album' project, and more to the point EMI's attempts to stop it spreading, word is some of EMI's competitors are expressing an interest in signing the producer up. That said, it is unlikely any label will be able to officially release the much hyped bootleg project itself - EMI and Apple Corps being far too sensitive about the Beatles back catalogue to even release it themselves. 

With all the Danger Mouse hype, look out for a special feature when the CMU Weekly returns on Monday - should major labels be embracing bootleg remixes? And aside from all the hype, is the 'Grey Album' any good? More on Monday.

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ANNIE LENNOX TAKES MUSICAL OSCAR
Britain's most high profile winner at the Oscars was in the music category - Annie Lennox took the Oscar for best track for her contribution to the Lord of the Rings: Return Of The King song, 'Into The West'. She shares the award with co-writers Howard Shore and Frances Walsh.

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BECKHAM DVD NOT SELLING SO WELL
According to the Sun, the DVD release of the TV documentary following David and Victoria Beckham and their new life in Madrid has sold just 7000 copies despite being in the shops for a month. The paper links the disappointing sales to Ms Beckham's still-struggling pop career - though a spokesman told the paper that, although the DVD features six Beckham tracks, it was not intended as part of Victoria's music ambitions. 

"The DVD is about the Beckhams based on the TV documentary shown at Christmas. It features a soundtrack by Victoria, gives fans additional surprises, 30 minutes of unseen footage and photos of the Beckhams. It is not a music product."

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SEDGLEY'S HAPPY TRACK DUE FOR RELEASE
That long-played-in-the-clubs Max Sedgley track 'Happy' will finally get a proper release on Sunday Best Recordings next month. Having been in many a DJ set for the best part of the year the media buzz has been growing on this track - and with the official release we're promised remixes from Fatboy Slim, DJ Marky, Spiritual South and Kelvin Andrews. Press info from Scruffy Bird on 020 7931 7990. 

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CHURCH WORKING WITH CHAMBERS AND BARLOW IN POP TRACKS
Apparently Charlotte Church has been working with former Robbie Williams' collaborator Guy Chambers and Take That's Gary Barlow in a bid to craft a pop album for release later this year. She says she has been using her tabloid-filling relationship with ex-boyfriend Steven Johnson as inspiration for her songwriting: "I have had great fun over the last couple of months co-writing in Manchester. I've basically written about my life over the past two years. Most of the sad songs are about feeling hurt or vulnerable."

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ELECTRIC EEL SHOCK SIGN TO GERMAN PUNK LABEL
Another one from our 'Japan rocks' file. Electric Eel Shock have signed a mainland Europe deal with German punk label Bitzcore Records. 

EES's Akihito Morimoto: "We have look everywhere for the right people to work with and all along they were hiding in the Reeperbahn!" 

Bitzcore's Juergen Goldschmitt: "We have been looking for a band as exciting as Electric Eel Shock for some time now - we have the feeling this is the start of something special" 

Meanwhile you can see Electric Eel Shock DJ'ing at Club Transmission at the Barfly this Saturday - 6 Mar. More at http://www.electriceelshock.com

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4AD SIGN SCOTT WALKER
Beggars label 4AD have signed up an artist they fairly describe as "one of the most influential and respected artists of all time" - the very great Mr Scott Walker. The label will release a new studio album later this year, his first since 'Tilt', which was released in 1995. 

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GATECRASHER AND FANTAZIA MEN LAUNCH NEW DANCE VENTURE
Ex-Gatecrasher promoter Scott Bond and former Fantazia frontman Andrew Gallagher have joined forces to create a new dance music label and club brand called Ahead Music. The plan is to get things started with the release of a compo album in May mixed by Bond. They then hope to release a new album every couple of months. A club night will follow - called Ahead - launching at Sheffield's infamous Adelphi on 29 May with a genre splitting mix of trance, breaks, ech & Psy. 

Announcing the new venture Bond told CMU: "The move to set up Ahead Music was purely in response to clubbers changing needs and desires. There have been a lot of rumours as to why I left Gatecrasher. The answer simply is that the Gatecrasher brand was moving towards mass market appeal but clubbers are still demanding something else. As a DJ and producer I am acutely aware of what clubbers want and that is cutting-edge new music. I DJ through out the world and the kind of music I play has a loyal following and a captive market and AHEAD music is an extension of this."

Gallagher adds: "Dance music must always diversify and innovate if the scene is to stay alive. Clubland has come in for a lot of criticism recently but it has just reached a natural progression and gone back to the underground. It's time to reinvent the scene and give clubbers what they want, that's where Ahead's success will lie and we are moving forward following extensive consultation with clubbers. The aim of Ahead is to take clubland on to its next phase."

More info from Frequency Media on 0121 224 7452.

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EP Review: the Needles - Under the City (Dangerous)
This band has it, they have the attitude, they have the style, they have the obscure lyrics, and they have it all right now. You press play and you are instantly brought back to your roots, the real ponk (punk/pop), you get the Boomtown Rats, The Ramones but the moment you get used to it Teenage Fan Club come bounding out... The Needles are what Hot Hot Heat tried to be, memorable. Even after you turn it off you are still bumping to the beat in your head and moving unorthodoxly in a crowded office with everyone staring at you (I should really sit back down). If you want rock n' roll, if you wanna remember the good ol' days, jumping up and down in a dingy under lit night club that smelled mighty peculiar, you get it right here... BS
Release date: 22 Mar
Press Contact: Dangerous IH [all]

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MORE BUSTED ARENA DATES
More arena dates for the Busted boys - this time in Nov/Dec (surely the backlash will have hit by then, or perhaps they'll be enjoying the backlash to the backlash come December). No word on whether hotel rooms are being booked for Charlie - Popbitch still seems convinced he's about to quit.

Anyways, dates as follows:

23 Nov: Cardiff International Arena
27 Nov: Sheffield Hallam FM Arena
30 Nov: Birmingham NEC
5 Dec: Glasgow SECC
9 Dec: Manchester Evening News Arena
11 Dec: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena.

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FROST JOINS THE ATOMIC CAT FIGHT
Atomic Kitten's Jenny Frost has hit back after former Kitten and 'I'm A Celeb' winner Kerry McFadden told her fellow jungle contestants that her voice was on the band's biggest hit - 'Whole Again' - and that Frost (who replaced McFadden in the trio after she quit just before 'Whole Again' became such a big hit) just mimed along to the song.

Frost has told the Daily Record: "It's obviously not true that I mimed but I really don't care if she feels the need to drag other people's names up to cause a bit of controversy. There were two versions of 'Whole Again' - one that Kerry recorded and one that I recorded. There were two videos, one with each of us. If she thinks the video I was in had me miming over her voice, that's impossible. I mean, just listen to it. It's in tune." I think the expression is "ouch".

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