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  I'm back from Edinburgh, did you miss me? Oh yes, I remember, the power of modern day communication meant that everything continued as normal. For you, anyway. I was in Edinburgh, which I think I already mentioned.

But I didn't just go to Edinburgh to test the possibilities of remote working. No. I also went all the way up to Scotland to partake in the world's biggest cultural festival. That's the Edinburgh Festival. In just over a week, I saw many things, all of them good. Seriously, I saw not one dud, which I'm pretty pleased about.
I should point out now that I only saw comedy shows. I know I should have gone and seen some worthy theatre and some contemporary dance to properly get a feel for the festival. And I like both of those things. But I like comedy more, and when faced with a week in a city filled with pretty much all of the world's best stand-ups, it was hard to even think about seeing anything else. Sorry.

Russell Kane, Richard Herring, Andrew Maxwell, and Glenn Wool were all excellent, and Josie Long's show was an absolute delight. Tim Key was great, and was the only comedian I saw who had a filled bath (or even just a bath) on stage. Something to think about there, if you're planning a show for next year. Alex Horne's 'Horne Section' cabaret show was so good I went and saw it twice, meaning Horne's human beatbox routine was stuck in my head for several days afterwards.

On the less well known side, Liam Mullone, Iain Stirling and Sean McLoughlin were all very good new-ish performers, and MJ Hibbett's two-man rock opera 'Moon Horse Vs The Mars Men Of Jupiter' was one of my favourite shows of the week. It was actually the main song from 'Moon Horse' that eventually shook that Alex Horne beatbox out of my skull.

Booked onto the night train home on Tuesday, I thought I'd get one last show in, so I elected to see Robin Ince at Buffs Club, a very small room where he was performing material that didn't fit into any of the various other shows he's doing at the Fringe this year. As I say, it was a very small room, and despite getting their early, as advised, space was so tight by the time I got in that I was forced to sit next to Robin on the stage. It was an odd way to see a stand-up show I can tell you, though it was probably that experience that made me feel like I'd done the Edinburgh Fringe "properly".

And so from there I went straight to Edinburgh Waverley railway station, commuting back to CMU's London HQ overnight. I'm still not sure how great an idea that was. It turns out 'sleeper train' is quite a misleading name. It's not so much that I was in a seat, rather than a bed. At the very least, you'd have thought they could have switched the lights off. And the man who carried on a phone conversation for the first 40 minutes (choice quote: "No, none of them are sleeping") didn't help, either. But I did make it home, and the city was still standing. Which was nice, because it wasn't quite clear if that would be the case when I left.

If you're heading up to Edinburgh any time this month, have fun. And be sure to pick up a copy of ThreeWeeks while you're there.

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU


  This week's biggest stories and developments in the world of music making...

Festival disaster news...
Five die in Pukkelpop stage collapse
Five die as stage collapses as Indiana State Fair

[PIAS] recovery news...
BPI launches fund for indies impacted by Sony DADC fire
Proper Distribution helps [PIAS] get back up to speed after fire

Misjudged talent booking news...
Kiss dropped from Michael Jackson tribute show

In the pop courts...
Phil Spector denied appeal again
Syco settles with Avicii
XL settles with Contra girl

Magazine news...
BBC agree sale of magazine business
ABCs show traditional mags down again

People saying things news...
Bowie has retired, claims biographer
Jedward talk about not talking about sex

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  Oh Land
Former ballerina Nanna Øland Fabricius, aka Oh Land, released her debut album, 'Fauna', in 2008 in her native Denmark. The beautiful collection of songs managed, somehow, to sound like recordings of a late night 1920s speakeasy, unearthed in the 21st Century and spruced up with modern production. The following year she was snapped up by Sony Music to record her eponymous follow-up with producers including Lester Mendez, who is best known for his work with Shakira.
Poppier, and with more pronounced songwriting than its predecessor, 'Oh Land' is due for release in the UK on 10 Oct. The next single, 'White Nights', will precede it on 3 Oct.

Since discovering her, we've seen her performing to audiences of varying sizes, from a 100 or so people on Brighton's sea front, to 2500 back in Denmark. But later this year, she'll play to her biggest audiences yet, as she supports Katy Perry on her tour of the arenas of the British Isles in October and November. Oh Land will then play a headline date of her own on 10 Nov at Heaven in London.

With so much to come in the world of Oh Land this year, we sat her down to talk us through some of the artists and songs and inspire her. Here's what she had to say about the ten track playlist she came up with: "The general theme of this playlist is music that I'm listening to at the moment whilst touring on the road - all the songs have a dreamy quality that's a bit melancholic but at the same time uplifting".
Click here to listen to Oh Land's playlist in Spotify, and then read on to find out more about her selections.

01 Little Dragon - Twice
I'm in love with her voice.

02 Portishead - The Rip
The song developed really beautifully from ballad to rhythmic.

03 James Blake - I Never Learnt To Share
His looping is insane.

04 The Knife - Heartbeats
I love the beat of her voice and the tragedy of the song - yet you still wanna dance.

05 Lykke Li - Love Out Of Lust
I love everything about this, except the middle eight.

06 Miike Snow - Animal
The feeling of the beat that goes from straight to syncopated is genius.

07 Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss
I love the Ringo Starr kind of drums and the modulations.

08 Pixies - Where Is My Mind?
The lyrics are amazing and they nail the way I often feel!

09 Sia - Soon We'll Be Found
The melody is the best pop melody in years.

10 Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
An evergreen.
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  Artists, tracks, videos, tour dates, release updates and other online nonsense to check out this weekend...

This week's Same Six Questions interviews...
Emeli Sandé
Dave Depper

This week's CMU approved acts...
A Winged Victory For The Sullen

A couple more treats...
Rifle through the Pitchfork archive as the site hits its fifteenth birthday
Check out the fancy website for Other Lives' first album
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  #75: Black Sabbath v The Birmingham Mail
Reports began circulating earlier this week that Black Sabbath's original line-up - Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward - had reunited to record a new studio album and to tour.

This is nothing new, really. These rumours, as for most aging bands whose members are still active in music, circulate from time to time, though for Sabbath they have picked up since the death of Ronnie James Dio last year. Dio's departure brought about the end of Heaven & Hell, a band consisting of the band's 1981 line-up, featuring Dio, Iommi, Butler and drummer Vinnie Appice.
Earlier this year, after Butler said in an interview on Californian radio station 95.5 KLOS that all four original members were "talking" and "friends", rumours of a reunion blew up so much that he took to his website to issue a statement, saying: "I would like to make it clear, because of mounting speculation and rumours, that there will be definitely NO reunion of all four original members of Black Sabbath, whether to record an album or to tour".

So, there you go. But then this week the rumour pops up again, this time on MetalTalk.net. Soon afterwards, the Birmingham Mail had a quote from Iommi confirming it all. It did indeed look like it was happening.

Iommi was quoted as saying: "We're really looking forward to it and I think the stuff we've been writing is really good. It's more back to the old original stuff. It's all been very hush-hush. Ozzy's been the worst at trying to hold it back. He's doing a lot of TV and he's being asked stuff about a reunion and he's going: 'Well, I never say never'. He told me: 'I don't know what to say'".

That does sound like they're working on a new album and preparing for a tour. But then Iommi, like Butler before him, issued a statement via his own website, which said: "I'm saddened that a Birmingham journalist whom I trusted has chosen this point in time to take a conversation we had back in June and make it sound like we spoke yesterday about a Black Sabbath reunion. At the time I was supporting the Home Of Metal exhibition and was merely speculating, shooting the breeze, on something all of us get asked constantly: 'Are you getting back together?'"

He continued: "Thanks to the internet, it's gone round the world as some sort of 'official' statement on my part, absolute nonsense. I hope he's enjoyed his moment of glory, he won't have another at my expense. To my old pals, Ozzy, Geezer and Bill, sorry about this, I should have known better".

He seems to be saying that, in fact, when he spoke to the Mail, he was role-playing a hypothetical situation in which the band were getting back together, but this was mere fantasy. Which is an odd thing to do.

I think we need a bit more clarification on the situation. How about something from Iommi's manager Ralph Baker? He'll surely clear everything up.

On Wednesday, Baker told The Birmingham Mail: "[Tony] was not saying that it wasn't true. We haven't got anything in place. He's not denying that the guys have been talking but there's nothing in the way that's been implied in the statements that you made. He made them to you in June and he felt that he made them to you off the record. A very insignificant little website put something out about Sabbath getting back together and being in the Midlands. End of story".

He added: "When you went online, that's when it went around the world because [it appeared that] it was official. Tony's website virtually crashed and it took off. That's why Tony's pissed off, because the story would have died a death. I don't consider some dodgy little website a trigger [to publish]. It was picked up by everybody because a lot of these kids have nothing better to do than simply pick up a story from one site and run with it and see what happens".

Hmm, that doesn't really clear it up at all, does it? Oh well, we can definitely confirm that Black Sabbath either will or will not release a new album featuring the original line-up at some point. And they may or may not tour. Of course, you may or may not care.
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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Aly Barchi
Editorial Assistant
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper

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