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TODAY'S NEWS

Best Buy move to Buy Napster

MySpace music announce sponsors for streaming service
7Digital become first European download store to offer MP3s from all four majors
Impala not impressed with EC go ahead for Sony Corp SonyBMG deal
Richard Wright dies
Bheki Mseleku dies
Macca denies Lennon gay claims
White unhappy with Coke Bond promotion
Metallica interview cancelled due to illegal download
The Cure angry at iTunes pricing of EP
Single review: Mr. Scruff – Music Takes Me Up (Feat. Alice Russell) (Ninja Tune)
EMI Publishing sign hitmakers of the year
Makers, Shamblers, Helders team up for new project
Britney comeback details announced
Killers announce new album (again)
Wakeman sends son on Yes tour
Remaining Oasis tour dates may be cancelled
Bestival reunion tour
Seun Kuti & Fela's Egypt 80 album and UK gigs
Album review: Jeremy Warmsley - How We Became (Warner Music/Transgressive Records)
Future of UK Hall Of Fame in doubt
Tesco add Warner MP3s to download store
Chart rule changes accommodate more-deluxe deluxe releases
Several classic radio brands to go as Heart network expands
Eurovision to bring back juries
Daltrey says Moon scripts aren't good enough
Winehouse misses own birthday party
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TUESDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER

TIMES NEW VIKING
Noisy lo-fi rockers Times New Viking formed in 2005 in Columbus, Ohio. The band signed to Matador and released their acclaimed third album, 'Rip It Off' in January this year. Since then they have been playing live pretty relentlessly, but have found time to record a new EP, 'Stay Awake', which is released on 7 Oct. The band will also be jetting over to the UK for a tour the same month. Things we know about the band: They are very good, but perhaps not very honest.

 

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Each one of our fathers was at one point in the brass section of Chicago (the band). True story.

Q2 What inspired your latest EP?
Bad blogs and limited edition records.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
First we start with the undercoat, or riff. This can be substituted with a keyboard line, drum beat or a vocal melody, or 'vox' as we say in the industry. After convening in our parlour, we vote on which undercoat(s) we want to start with. Votes must be unanimous. If there is a lack of building material, votes can be determined by a two-thirds margin, allowing that the votes are cast no later than 12 midnight on the first Tuesday of the month. Once the votes are cast the arrangement can be arranged. This consists of, like, jamming and stuff. Then when the song is totally killer we just record it on our boombox. Awesome!

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Ambrose Bierce, Richard Brautigan, Shoes This High, Titmachine.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Where have you been?

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest EP, and for the future?
World peace.

MORE>> www.timesnewviking.com and www.myspace.com/timesnewviking
 

ELEANOORA ROSENHOLM
Signed to renowned Finnish independent Fonal (Es, Paavoharju, etc), the release of Eleanooora Rosenholm's 'Vainajan Muotokuva' record last year marked a departure from their usual mix of fractured electro-acoustic tones, instead focusing on italo influenced odd pop. Her new album, 'Ala Kysy Kuolleilta, He Sanoivat', which is out next month, follows similar patterns of thought, yet is less disco and more gothic dance orientated, finding kinship with Swedish electro types The Knife and Zeitgeist. 'Tammen Varjossa' is the excellent first single and is accompanied by an unsurprisingly freakish woodland video, which is streaming at MySpace.

www.myspace.com/eleanoorarosenholm

 

 



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BEST BUY MOVE TO BUY NAPSTER
Following all that speculation regarding the future of subscription-based digital music service Napster, and reports that management there were trying to find new owners to take the company out of public ownership, US electronics retailer Best Buy Co has announced plans to buy the company outright for $121 million. It is offering existing shareholders $2.65 per share, which is almost double the value of a share in the company on Friday, so presumably most people with a stake in the firm will take up the offer pronto.

The deal has seemingly been approved by the Napster board, who have reportedly entered into employment contracts with Best Buy which will see them stay with the download service, which has struggled to compete in the iTunes-dominated digital music market, despite the Napster brand's heritage.

As previously pondered, Napster's subscription-based business model, as opposed to Apple's pay-per-track model, has never quite caught the imagination of the mainstream digital music consumer, despite many in the music business believing all-you-can-eat subscription services are the future of the record industry.

Given that theory, there is an argument that Napster - who have been more successful than most in the albeit so far niche interest subscription market - could be well placed to capitalise on any shift in consumer preferences towards subscription systems. However, that market is about to come a lot more competitive, with big players like Sky planning similar services, and propositions like Nokia's Comes With Music potentially threatening the Napster proposition by allowing users to keep downloaded tracks even when their subscription lapses (albeit with reported DRM and therefore handset / player limitations).

Either way, presumably Best Buy reckon there is some value in Napster's brand, expertise and 700,000 signed up subscribers. As an electronics retailer with its own device brands they may see Napster as a way to lock consumers to digital music hardware bought in their stores - in much the same way iTunes locks consumer to iPods, and Comes With Music will lock people to Nokia phones. And, in fact, it may be the mobile potential of the Napster service that most interests Best Buy, especially in the UK given their recently acquired 50% stake in the Carphone Warehouse retail chain.

Time will tell I guess.

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MYSPACE MUSIC ANNOUNCE SPONSORS FOR STREAMING SERVICE
Adding to speculation that MySpace Music is about to go live, the social networking firm has announced it has four sponsors in place to fund its free streaming service at launch, in the US at least - McDonalds, Sony Pictures, Toyota and State Farm.

As far as we can make out, free streaming is going to be at the heart of the all new MySpace Music service, in contrast to the existing MySpace Music platform where free streaming is, erm, at the heart of the service. I think the difference is that MySpace will now licence entire catalogues off the major record companies, rather than relying on labels and artists to upload content to their individual MySpace pages, and users will be able to add multiple streaming tracks to their personal MySpace profiles, not just the one track as is currently allowed.

As previously reported, it is thought the download component of the new MySpace Music service will be provided, in the US at least, by Amazon MP3. Just how integrated that will be in the MySpace platform remains to be seen.

Confirming its sponsors, MySpace sales and marketing chief Jeff Berman told reporters: "With MySpace Music integration, premium brands are offering our users and their customers new ways to discover, experience, and share music online and offline".

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7DIGITAL BECOME FIRST EUROPEAN DOWNLOAD STORE TO OFFER MP3S FROM ALL FOUR MAJORS
Yeah, erm, well, 7Digital have become the first European download store to offer MP3s from all four majors. Really should have thought of a snappier headline.

The London-based download store announced this morning that they are now making the SonyBMG catalogue available in the digital-rights-management-free MP3 format. With MP3s from EMI, Warner and Universal already available via 7Digital, this means they are now making DRM-free music available from all four major record companies - the only download store in Europe to do so.

As previously reported, SonyBMG were the last of the major record companies to announce they were ending their self-destructive love affair with digital rights management - just in time to participate in the US launch of Amazon's download service at the start of the year, Amazon having insisted from the start it would only sell iPod-compatible MP3s.

The roll out of DRM-free music from all but EMI - who followed the independent sector's lead into MP3 relatively early - has been tediously slow, especially outside the US where Amazon is not currently selling digital music. But major label MP3s are now slowly arriving at other download stores around the UK, giving independent companies like 7Digital a better chance to compete with market leader download store iTunes, who always stopped other retailers from selling DRMed music that worked on the market leader iPod.

7Digital also this morning announced further expansion across and beyond Europe, and the release of a 7Digital API, or application programming interface, which should allow developers large and small to incorporate the 7Digital download service into their own websites and apps, making a cut on any track sales they enable.

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IMPALA NOT IMPRESSED WITH EC GO AHEAD FOR SONY CORP SONYBMG DEAL
Talking of SonyBMG, which we sort of were, the European Commission has given the go ahead to Sony Corp's previously reported bid to buy German media firm Bertelsmann - the BMG bit of SonyBMG - out of the major record company. Given all the regulatory stress that surrounded the merger of Sony and Bertelsmann's record companies back in 2004, approval for the deal that will put ownership of the mega-major into the hands of one conglomerate came without much hassle.

Though, needless to say, not without some opposition. Pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA, who have opposed the creation of SonyBMG from day one, and who added to the major's regulatory woes by successfully overturning the original European Commission decision to approve the 2004 merger, are not impressed.

They said in a statement yesterday: "IMPALA finds it incredible that the Commission can take such a consequential decision without carrying out an in-depth investigation. This is a completely different merger to the SonyBMG joint venture that has been approved twice by the Commission but is still in court under appeal. The new merger will fully integrate the world's second largest music company with the largest consumer electronics company, creating a wide array of new vertical and horizontal problems as the industry progresses toward digital delivery of music through multiple platforms. IMPALA is awaiting the text of the EC's decision so that it can determine its course of action".

IMPALA Co-President Patrick Zelnik added: "It is difficult for us to understand how there can be such a difference between what the Commission says and what the Commission does. Cultural diversity is meant to be properly taken into account in all decisions. Merger control rules must be adapted to cultural industries".

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RICHARD WRIGHT DIES
Pink Floyd founder member and keyboard player Richard Wright has died at the age of sixty five after suffering from cancer. A statement on behalf of his family has been released and reads as follows: "The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

Wright appeared on Pink Floyd's first album, 1976's 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn', alongside Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and Nick Mason, having met Waters and Mason at architecture school.

He continued on as a member of the band following Barrett's departure and the arrival of Dave Gilmour. He did not write as many songs as his band-mates, but nonetheless wrote a number of tracks for the band's seminal album 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' as well as for the band's final studio album 'The Division Bell'.

Although he resigned from the band during sessions for 'The Wall' because of his tense relationship with Roger Waters, he later rejoined the group, and he also appeared at the band's reunion gig in 2005. During the course of his career, he also released a solo album which was well received amongst Floyd fans and also formed his own duo, Zee, which failed to achieve critical success.

Dave Gilmour said: "He was such a lovely, gentle, genuine man and will be missed terribly by so many who loved him. And that's a lot of people. Did he not get the loudest, longest round of applause at the end of every show [of Gilmour's three night Albert Hall run] in 2006?"

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BHEKI MSELEKU DIES
South African jazz star Bheki Mseleku has died from the effects of diabetes at the age of 53, in his home in London. The pianist had been living away from his home country off and on since the 1976 uprising, returning sporadically in the intervening years. He had recently spent a number of years in South Africa, but returned to live in the UK in 2006.

Born in Natal, he first came to attention when he moved to Johannesburg in 1975 and began work as an organ player for jazz fusion act Spirits Rejoice. As aforementioned, the musician left South Africa the following year, finding success in the Stockholm Jazz scene in the early eighties, and in London from 1985 when he made his debut appearance at Ronnie Scott's. During his recording career he released six albums, the last one in 2003. In the last two years he had formed a new band and made a number of well-received UK appearances.

Minister of Arts & Culture in South Africa Pallo Jordan said in a statement: "Perhaps more than any other musician of his generation, Mseleku was able to put his genius, that had defied man-made structural constraints, on the international map when it was easy to blame apartheid".

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MACCA DENIES LENNON GAY CLAIMS
Paul McCartney has disputed those previously reported claims by author Philip Norman in his new book 'John Lennon: The Life' that John Lennon wanted to have a sexual relationship with him.

McCartney told The Sun: "I don't think [the gay claims] are true. John never ever tried anything, I slept with him a million times. I've seen him on tour roaring drunk, out of his mind in the early days before he sobered up and went to rehab. Roaring drunk and it was always with a female. If you've got a little gay tendency and your roaring drunk I'd have caught him once".

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WHITE UNHAPPY WITH COKE BOND PROMOTION
Jack White has said that he is "disappointed" that the first airing of the song he and Alicia Keys recorded for the new James Bond film 'Quantum Of Solace' was on a TV advert for Coke Zero, which is being re-branded Coke Zero Zero 7 as part of a co-promotion with the film. As previously, White recorded 'Another Way To Die' with Alicia Keys, fending off competition to record the latest official Bond song from Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson.

In a statement, White said: "Jack White was commissioned by Sony Pictures to write a theme song for the James Bond film 'Quantum Of Solace', not for Coca Cola. Any other use of the song is based on decisions made by others, not by Jack White. We are disappointed that you first heard the song in a co-promotion for Coke Zero, rather than in its entirety".

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METALLICA INTERVIEW CANCELLED DUE TO ILLEGAL DOWNLOAD
Metallica's attitude to illegal downloading may have seemingly relaxed of late, but their record company, Universal, are not budging on the topic. After a reviewer for Swedish publication Sydsvenskan admitted that he preferred an illegal downloaded alternative version of the band's new album, 'Death Magnetic' to the official release, a scheduled interview was duly cancelled.

President of Universal Music Sweden, Per Sundin said: "The reviewer is referring to a BitTorrent where someone has altered the original songs. The reviewer explains exactly where one should go in order to download the file that totally infringes on a copyright. It's not only an illegal file, but an altered file. The reviewer also writes that this is how the album should have sounded. File-sharing of music is illegal. Period. There's nothing to discuss. That fact - that Sydsvenskan has a writer that has downloaded this music illegally and then makes mention of an illegal site in his review - is totally unacceptable to us".

So, that's him told.

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THE CURE ANGRY AT ITUNES PRICING OF EP
Robert Smith has hit out at Universal Music after discovering that the only way to get the new track off The Cure's new 'Hypnagogic States EP' is to purchase it in its entirety - ie even on iTunes the one new track can not be bought on its own. This means that fans who already the other four tracks on the EP (which can be bought individually) would have to pay the full £7.99 to get the one new one. He's also confused as to why a sixth track - another 65 Days Of Static remix - which was meant to appear in the EP package is nowhere to be seen.

Writing on The Cure's official website, Smith said: "Please don't buy 'Hypnagogic States EP' from iTunes for £7.99. It is absurd! TMU has managed to fuck this up to another level! Please only buy this 5 track EP from iTunes when it is available for around £4 or less and you get the free 65dos 'The Only One' remix".

He also posted an email he has sent to Universal, which reads... "I fucking despair again. 'Hypnagogic States EP' is now up on UK iTunes... 5 tracks for £7.99? For fucks sake! And the package is completely missing the extra bonus track (65dos alt remix of 'The Only One'). So, you can buy the four remixes by [30 Seconds To Mars, Afi, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy] individually for 79p each... But you only get the 65dos 'Exploding Head Syndrome' remix of all four singles if you pay £7.99 for 'the album'... ie you are being asked to pay £4.83 for the 65dos remix!!! Who the fuck is going to pay this and not feel totally ripped off? It's not a fucking album! It's a 5 track EP and you are supposed to get an extra free track (the 65dos remix of 'The Only One') if you buy it as a 5 track EP. And it's supposed to cost less if you buy it as a 5 track EP than if you buy the 5 tracks individually... That is what was agreed. This is so totally wrong. I really do fucking despair. Why is it so incredibly difficult to get anything done right? Please fix this now".

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SINGLE REVIEW: Mr Scruff - Music Takes Me Up (feat. Alice Russell) (Ninja Tune)
Mr Scruff is one of those artists who people find it very hard to dislike. For every accusation of being too twee, there is a jawdropping bassline or sample ready to answer. That said, if this single is anything to go by, he may be losing his charming eccentricity and is nestling, instead, comfortably into his self-defined niche. That's to say, this is pretty standard Scruff, especially for anyone who has listened to his 'Solid Steel' mix - jazz bass and piano being offset with a cheeky hip-hop beat and presented via crackly vinyl effects. It's good, but not quite so original as you might expect. That said, it is just one single - perhaps Scruff needs a full album to stretch his wings. ME
Release Date: 29 Sep
Press Contact: Ninja Tune IH [NP, RP, O], Cool Badge [NR, RR]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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EMI PUBLISHING SIGN HITMAKERS OF THE YEAR
EMI Music Publishing has signed up Norwegian songwriter and producer Mikkel Eriksen, probably best known as one half of the Stargate pop production partnership who have been behind global hits for the likes of Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Jordin Sparks and Beyonce, and who were named Hitmakers Of The Year by Rolling Stone earlier this year. The deal gives EMI full association with the Stargate partnership because they already represent the other half of the duo, Tor Erik Hermansen.

Confirming the signing, EMI Publishing top man Roger Faxon told CMU: "Having worked successfully with Tor Erik for so long, we are delighted to be able to extend our relationship with Stargate through this agreement with Mikkel. Stargate is a dominant force in both the UK and the US right now, and we're looking forward to working with both of them to continue to develop their careers creatively and commercially".

Eriksen himself added: "Everybody at EMI Music Publishing has impressed me with their passion and commitment to songwriting and songwriters, and I'm looking forward to working with them as we continue to build on the success of the last few years".

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MAKERS, SHAMBLERS, HELDERS TEAM UP FOR NEW PROJECT
More information on that new supergroupy project from Arctic Monkey Matt Helders, his ex-bandmate Andy Nicholson and members of Reverend And The Makers and Babyshambles. According to reports, the band, Mongrel, have just finished recording a heavily political debut record 'Better Than Heavy', which will be released on 27 Oct.

It seems that the band are, in fact, a politically motivated project. Talking about it, (Reverend) Jon McClure says: "It's been refreshing working on this album because it's kind of good to get out of your comfort zone and do something a bit different. I think lyrically it is so much more combative than anything else that is around at the minute. The state of British music bores me to tears and I think it's time we reflected the greater British music scene rather than just middle class indie boys with guitars around their necks. A lot of the album questions the government and the way the media controls things. From there it leads onto foreign policy and the war in Iraq, conflicts in Afghanistan and Palestine. It is kind of tackling a lot of hard issues which people since 9/11 have been scared to tackle for some reason".

On the presence of former Monkey Nicholson in the band, he adds: "It's nice to have Andy back doing music because I think he was down in the dumps for a bit after the Arctic Monkeys. He is a brilliant musician who has a lot spirit and and a lot of feeling for what he does. It's good to see him indulging himself in some interesting music which is not the music most people know him for but the music he loves. It was also good to see him and Helders playing again together even if it was just in the studio. There's a lot of chemistry between them".

McClure has also confirmed that he won't be quitting music, despite his claim last month that he would as soon as the next Reverend And The Makers album is finished: "I got a bit mental when I got down in the dumps and said I was going to quit but I won't, I'll carry on. There's some people I need to put straight on a few things first. I will be back don't worry about that, I'm bullet proof".

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BRITNEY COMEBACK DETAILS ANNOUNCED
I'm not sure she's really been away, though this includes a tour, which I don't think she's done in quite a while. Britney's sixth studio album will reportedly be called 'Circus' and will be released on 1 Dec. She will then return to the live arena with a New Year's Eve show in Las Vegas, launching a massive world tour. Just thought you might like to know.

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KILLERS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM (AGAIN)
As has been announced numerous times in CMU Daily, The Killers will release their new album, 'Day And Age' in November. 24 Nov, to be exact. The album will be preceded by a single called 'Human'.

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WAKEMAN SENDS SON ON YES TOUR
Rick Wakeman won't be joining his former band Yes for their upcoming reunion tour, instead he has chosen to send his son Oliver in his place.

Writing on his website, Wakeman Sr said: "My major concern was that of over-touring, which I felt Yes had done since 2002 with far too many shows, especially in America which for me diminished the 'specialness' of the band. I also was concerned for the health of the band, both as a whole and as individuals. It's a matter of public record for instance, that Jon [Anderson, vocals] in particular really suffered during the last weeks of the previous Yes tour which was extremely worrying for us all. Chris [Squire, guitar] and I met up a few times and spoke about who I felt would be able to do a good job in the keyboard department and I put forward just two names, my two eldest sons Adam and Oliver. Adam, to be truthful, was not really a 'contender' because he is fully committed to Ozzy and is touring constantly. Oliver has worked with Steve [Howe, guitar] of course on various recordings and so there was already a rapport there. I was therefore very happy when Oliver told me that Steve had called him".

Oliver Wakeman won't be the only fill in on the tour. As mentioned by Wakeman, vocalist Jon Anderson is not in great health, having suffered acute respiratory failure after a severe asthma attack earlier this year. He will be replaced by Benoit David on the tour, who was previously the frontman of a Yes tribute act.

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REMAINING OASIS TOUR DATES MAY BE CANCELLED
Noel Gallagher is thinking of cancelling the rest of the current Oasis tour because of the injuries he received during that previously reported incident in which he was attacked by a fan on stage in Toronto. He's still bedridden and stuck in a New York hotel room, barely able to walk, which is a shame, even if you're a Gallagher. Writing from his bed, Noel hinted on a recent blog entry that he might just give up on the idea of completing the tour, having already cancelled several gigs as a result of his incapacitation.

On band's official blog, Gallagher writes: "Went for some acupuncture earlier. Doc says it might help with straightening myself up. Can't see it but I'll try anything to make the gig happen. The guy's not a miracle worker. He is a funny little Chinese man though. He greeted me by saying, 'Come in, don't worry, be happy!' KILL ME NOW!!! Didn't work. Still feel pretty stiff. I'm walking like an old man. Best start thinking about packing up and going home, I guess. Yet another North American trip ends in chaos. If I believed in God, I'd begin to think he had it in for us. To be continued..."

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BESTIVAL REUNION TOUR
If you braved the mud and rain at this year's Bestival, you might be pleased to know you'll be able to experience the festival again in more dry, warm and indoor settings later this year, when the Bestival Reunion tour gets on the road. Featuring some great bands and DJs from the Bestival family, including 808 State, DJ Yoda, and many more, it all gets underway on 31 Oct in Liverpool.

Rob Da Bank says of the tour: "We're very excited to announce the Bestival Reunion tour. It's been an amazing summer with the launch of Camp Bestival and our fifth year with Bestival itself. We really want people in the regions to experience a slice of the Bestival magic, and whilst this is intimate and indoors, I've personally selected all of the acts and, yes, I'm DJing on every single date! See you on the road".

Tour dates:

31 Oct: Liverpool, Nation
7 Nov: Manchester, Warehouse Project
8 Nov: Glasgow, The Arches
12 Nov: Leeds, Metropolitan University
13 Nov: Southampton, Orange Rooms
14 Nov: Dublin, Tripod
15 Nov: Birmingham, Custard Factory

For full details of bands and DJs at each date, go to www.bestival.net

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SEUN KUTI & FELA'S EGYPT 80 ALBUM AND UK GIGS
The youngest son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, Seun, has teamed up with his late father's last band, Egypt 80, to record a brand new album.

Listening to 'Many Things', that classic afrobeat sound comes though straight away, though, while Fela's memory is duly honoured, Seun proves that he is by no means just a clone of his father.

Seun told CMU: "I want to make Afrobeat for my generation. Instead of 'get up and fight'. it's going to be 'get up and think'".

You can catch Seun and Egypt 80 live when they take residency at Cargo in Shoreditch for two nights next month. The album will be released on 6 Oct.

Live dates:

5 Oct: London, Cargo
6 Oct: London, Cargo

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jeremy Warmsley - How We Became (Warner Music/Transgressive Records)
Sprouting from the same tree (but perhaps not the same branch) as Patrick Wolf and Tom Vek, Jeremy Warmsley has a unique sound that has barely been touched by the mainstream. His follow-up album to 2006's 'The Art Of Fiction' is a significant leap from minimalist, quirky sounds of old; 'How We Became' is a deliberate attempt to grow up and reach wider audiences whilst staying true to his signature sounds. Catchy even from the first listen, each song moves along like a story, creating a lush, coherent flow to the record that was missing from its predecessor. There is something very pretty about Jeremy's voice and the way that it moves with the overflow of instruments, crystal clear against the scale-tipping piano in 'Craneflies' and snappy and reassuring as it jumps happily along the lilting appearance of a sax in 'Dancing With The Enemy'. 'How We Became' takes you places you do not expect to go; a lush, familiar mix of electronica and folk that still manages to push the boundaries, ironically by providing catchy, ear-pleasing hooks that may not guarantee him a place in the commercial market, but certainly warrants him credit amongst popular indie crowds. It pains me when one of my favourite underground artists produces a record that is near faultless, even more so when it guarantees him recognition. I wanted to keep him all for myself. Sounds selfish, I know, so I'm willing to forgive Jeremy for this - because 'How We Became' is so good, and so charming in its peculiar, beautiful awkwardness, he deserves wider recognition. TW
Release Date: 6 Oct
Press Contact: Darling Dept [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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FUTURE OF UK HALL OF FAME IN DOUBT
Membership of the UK's Music Hall Of Fame might be about to become very exclusive indeed, as the future of the annual classic artist back-slapping bash is very much in doubt. As previously reported, after three years of inducted artists into the Hall Of Fame via a Channel 4 aired (and funded) TV extravaganza, the whole project was put on ice last year when C4 said it could no longer fund the award show and no sponsor was forthcoming. The plan was to get a sponsor in time for a 2008 Hall Of Fame show, but according to Music Week that now looks unlikely, leading to speculation the whole venture will be shelved. There was originally talk of the Hall Of Fame being transformed into a museum at The O2, similar to the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame in the US, but I've no idea if that's still being considered.

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TESCO ADD WARNER MP3S TO DOWNLOAD STORE
More DRM free music for you. Tesco has announced it has signed up Warner Music for its reinvigorated and MP3-based download store. The major will start making its whole catalogue available in MP3 format via the supermarket's download store, as well as a number of exclusive bundled-content packages which mix rarities, remixes, videos and interactive virtual-booklets in with basic tracks.

Warner Music Senior VP of Commercial And Operations, Alan Young, says this: "Our agreement will deliver an extended range of feature-rich digital products to Tesco.com's large, diverse customer-base, from impulse buyers doing their weekly shop to passionate fans searching for collectible content".

Tesco moved into the MP3 domain with its download offer earlier this year, though to date have only been able to provide MP3s from the EMI catalogue.

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CHART RULE CHANGES ACCOMMODATE MORE-DELUXE DELUXE RELEASES
The Official Charts Company has announced another set of chart rule changes, mainly to deal with the increasingly popular trend of record companies releasing deluxe versions of albums a few months after a long player's initial release.

Record companies normally want the sales of both standard and deluxe versions of albums to be counted together, so that overall they get a higher chart position. Previously the OCC has only allowed that to happen when the two versions of the albums were 80% the same - so the deluxe edition could only include a limited amount of extra content for sales of it to be lumped with sales of the original release.

That rule has now been changed to give labels the option to include more content in the deluxe release without losing the benefit of a combined sales count. From the end of the month, deluxe editions will only have to include 100% of the standard release to be counted as the same product as the original, though the extra content must be previously unreleased - so, for example, a label couldn't turn the deluxe edition into a virtual hits album by lumping in some back catalogue. If a deluxe version does not include 100% of the original release, the previous 80% rule will apply.

A new set of rules have also been introduced to govern the inclusion of free merchandise or downloads with a physical album release, where sales of the freebie-laden version of an album can be counted with sales of the basic release providing the enhanced package is between 20% and 80% more expensive than the standard album (increase depends on level of freebie included).

The new rules have been introduced in recognition of the increased trend for labels to release enhanced and deluxe versions of albums to boost overall sales, especially in the run up to Christmas.

OCC boss Martin Talbot told CMU: "These changes, which were driven by retailers' demand, are designed to encourage greater experimentation in the packaging of albums through the creation of more enhanced value packages for consumers. We hope it will help support sales in the run-up to Christmas".

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SEVERAL CLASSIC RADIO BRANDS TO GO AS HEART NETWORK EXPANDS
Radio Today has named some of the GCap owned local radio stations that are due to be rebranded as Heart stations following Heart FM owner Global Radio's acquisition of the GWR/Capital Radio empire.

Stations due to lose their local branding and to become part of the Heart network include long-standing local radio brands like Invicta, Fox FM, Essex FM and GWR. Some local station brands, including Mercury, Red Dragon, Trent and Capital, will remain, providing the traditional local radio pop format within a rejigged national network of local stations called the Hit Music Network.

Radio Today say that, in addition to those stations in that network, the merged Global GCap will operate just six other radio brands - LBC, Galaxy, Classic FM, Gold, Xfm and, of course, Heart. The fact Xfm stays is good news, though the absence of Choice FM in that list is telling. Galaxy London is coming I reckon.

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EUROVISION TO BRING BACK JURIES
Because the public can't be trusted to vote properly, jury panels will be brought back to the Eurovision Song Contest next year, although there will still be a telephone vote as well.

As much previously reported, Eurovision has come in for a great deal of criticism in recent years from people who say that the current voting system gives unfair bias to Eastern European countries, who, some say, all automatically vote for each other rather than picking the song they think is the best. Said tactical voting has led to Western Europe countries like the UK, France and Germany - who provide a lot of the funding for the Contest and its broadcast - consistently scoring badly at the Contest.

From next year, a judging panel from each country will vote alongside the viewing public in an attempt to balance out any biased punter voting. When the jury vote was re-introduced to the semi-final stage this year, there were significant differences between the public and jury votes. That said, even before the public vote there were always countries that traditionally voted for each other, so maybe it'll all be pointless. We shall see in May, when the next contest is held in Moscow.

Eurovision's Executive Supervisor, Svante Stockelius told the BBC: "Nothing is more democratic than the vote of the public. But a jury takes the opportunity to listen to the songs several times before they make up their minds. We believe a combination will make the show more interesting".

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DALTREY SAYS MOON SCRIPTS AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH
Roger Daltrey says his plans for a biopic about his late band-mate Keith Moon have been stalled because nobody will write a decent script. The Who star, who is producing the film, which has been in development fifteen years, told Billboard "They just don't get it. When you see the kinds of scripts they've got in mind to make, it's sad. I don't want to do a 'Carry On' about Keith. If I can keep that from happening, I've done my job".

Tell you what, Rog: you write a rough script with everything you want in it, then send it over to me and I'll tidy it up for you. I reckon it could be a winning formula.

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WINEHOUSE MISSES OWN BIRTHDAY PARTY
Amy Winehouse managed to miss her own birthday party on Saturday, according to reports. The lavish party at the Jazz After Dark club in London was attended by many guests, including Mark Ronson, but the birthday girl herself failed to show.

A source told The Daily Star: "Everyone was really upbeat about the night and buzzing about Amy getting there. But as it got later, it all started to sink in, no-one could get hold of Amy, and Mark Ronson had to entertain the crowd with an impromptu performance".

Another 'friend' said that the no-show was down to Amy's dislike of her own appearance. They said: "She was standing in front of the mirror telling everyone how rough she looked. Unfortunately her lifestyle has had a major affect on her appearance and it's only just started to sink in. She kept saying she was ugly and was in an awful state. They couldn't get her out".

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