CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 18th July

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Eminem reportedly giving up performing
- iTunes pass 500 hundred million mark - are they unstoppable?
- Kylie freezes eggs, allegedly
- Kanye West coping well with propping up hip hop
- Pixies ready to record new album
- Cream to appear at the Garden, possibly
- Xfm recruit Popworld presenter
- Mcfly concerts cancelled after Hessenthaler liquidation
- Live Review: JJ72 at The Underworld On 12 Jul
- Ladytron announce new album and live dates
- DJ Format dates
- Chart update
- Sonic Youth re-release
- AIM appoint new communications consultant
- New Janet Jackson album stuff
- Tracy Chapman album tour
- Jah Wobble set for new release
- Usher opens camp for young talent
- SonyBMG COO stands down
- Chris Martin wrote begging letter to Kraftwerk
- Village person arrested
- Jessica and Nick plan to adopt

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THE TOP BIT>>

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EMINEM REPORTEDLY GIVING UP PERFORMING
D-12 member Proof has told a Detroit newspaper that Eminem plans to stop performing after he has completed his current Anger Management Tour, with plans to concentrate his energy on production work instead.

Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Proof, real name Deshaun Holton, said: "Em has definitely got to the level where he feels like he's accomplished everything he can accomplish in rap. He wants to kick back and get into the producing thing. Why not bow out while you're on top?"

Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg told the paper that "no official decision" had been made about Eminem's next career step, but added that last album 'Encore' was "certainly the cap on this part of his career".

His current world tour ends with a show at Slane Castle just outside Dublin on 17 Sep.

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ITUNES PASS 500 HUNDRED MILLION MARK - ARE THEY UNSTOPPABLE?
When Amy Greer of Lafayette, Indiana, downloaded Faith Hill's 'Mississippi Girl' from Apple's iTunes over the weekend she probably didn't expect to get a 10,000-song gift certificate and ten iPods of her choosing bundled in with her 99 cents purchase, but such are the perks should you be fortunate enough to buy the 500 millionth download from the iTunes platform. Of course she also won front row tickets to an upcoming Coldplay concert, so it wasn't all good news for Amy.

But it is all good news for Apple, or so it would seem, with the landmark download purchase coming just days after the computer firm posted its highest quarterly profits in its history. With Apple now possessing an 80% share of the US download market it is increasingly hard to see how any of its newer competitors will ever get anywhere close without offering consumers something radically different (especially if we assume Napster and Real have the subscription model sewn up).

Of course, Apple have lost their market dominance before, and the incompatibility of the iPod with music bought from any download platform other than iTunes remains a problem which insiders at the company's competitors hope may prove to be the stumbling block that stops Apple from maintaining that kind of market share once downloading goes truly mainstream.

However, while it is Apple boss Steve Jobs' unwillingness to collaborate that is causing the incompatibility problem, to many consumers it is the other download platforms that are incompatible with the iPod, rather than the iPod which is incompatible with them. All of which means that it is hard to see iTunes' dominance of the download sector being threatened anytime soon - with no one seemingly pursuing the kind of 'big idea' which could do just that. Apple's competitors, assuming they haven't got that 'big idea' in a box somewhere, will just have to wait for Jobs to mess up big time and then stage their attack.

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KYLIE FREEZES EGGS, ALLEGEDLY
The Sun reports that Kylie Minogue put off her course of chemo to give her time to get some eggs frozen so that she will be able to have children at some point in the future. The paper also claims that Kylie shaved her head in advance of the treatment to pre-empt hair loss from the chemotherapy, and implies that Kylie is hiding from the public the seriousness of her illness; to be fair, though, we all know how serious cancer is, and presumably no-one really thought that she'd come out of hospital and get straight back on tour. According to earlier reports, Kylie is now undergoing her treatment in Paris.

Anyway, The Sun's unnamed source said "Kylie is sicker than she is letting the public realise. Her body is clear of cancer cells but there is a chance it could come back because it's aggressive. She must have chemotherapy but she's been putting it off for weeks because she wanted to try and have some eggs extracted and made into frozen embryos first. She wants to be a mum more than anything in the world."

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KANYE WEST COPING WELL WITH PROPPING UP HIP HOP
Maintaining every sense of perspective you could imagine, Kanye West has been telling the NME about the stress of having the whole future of hip hop on his shoulders. Speaking about working on new album 'Late Registration' (out 29 Aug), West said: "I think I carry a lot of stuff on my records. Sometimes I feel like I'm carrying the whole of hip hop itself, the state of music too. I've just tried to push the envelope."

Pushing the envelope, of course, involves sampling Shirley Bassey's Bond theme 'Diamonds Are Forever' on that recent single 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone'. In the NME interview Kanye compares the song to Jay-Z's 'Hard Knock Life' on the basis that both sample well known kitsch songs (fair enough), but also to his own past single 'Jesus Walks' on the basis that both align the rapper with major icons (James Bond and, erm, God).

West: "'Diamonds...' is like 'Jesus Walks', aside from the religious aspect of that song, it's taking a rapper that you already like and having him associate himself with something bigger than him, an icon. It's not to compare James Bond with Jesus but both of them are pop icons."

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PIXIES READY TO RECORD NEW ALBUM
Following their reunion tour and that iTunes-only single release, Pixies are planning to record their first album together in fourteen years.

Frank Black has told the Sun: "It's all hugs and kisses, I'm pleased to report. We have been discussing recording a new album lately. As happy as we are with the success of the reunion tour, we really want to make a record for the right reasons, whether it is successful commercially or not. We would be satisfied if it played like our other records, never chart-topping but always in print."

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CREAM TO APPEAR AT THE GARDEN, POSSIBLY
Reports suggest that, following their reunion back in May at the Royal Albert Hall, when, as previously reported, Eric Clapton, drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce regrouped for the first time since 1993, Cream are to reunite on stage again for a trio of gigs at Madison Square Garden. Sources say that three dates are being held for the band, although neither the venue nor Eric Clapton's agent would confirm the rumour.

Clapton's next studio album, entitled 'Back Home', comes out this Aug, and features guest appearances from John Mayer, Steve Winwood, Robert Randolph and Simon Climie.

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XFM RECRUIT POPWORLD PRESENTER
Xfm have confirmed that Popworld presenter Simon Amstell will be taking over the Saturday afternoon 'you need to be funny to present this show' slot. The announcement comes as the station's star presenters Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant complete their latest six week run. Amstell will take over next week and present the Saturday show weekly until Adam & Joe return in Sep.

Announcing the recruitment of Amstell to the station, Xfm Programme Director Andy Ashton told reporters: "Simon Amstell is one of the most exciting and intelligent presenters out there. He did a few shows for us last year that people still talk about now. Be it TV or radio his unique approach sets him apart from the rest and it has long been an ambition of mine to get him back on Xfm. It's an absolute pleasure to confirm that he will cover Adam and Joe's Saturday 1-3pm show until their return in mid September. Hot off the heels of Ricky Gervais' run this keeps Saturday afternoons on Xfm the home of exciting and innovative Radio."

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MCFLY CONCERTS CANCELLED AFTER HESSENTHALER LIQUIDATION
Now, it was one thing when the liquidation of gig promoters John Hessenthaler Productions Limited meant a Status Quo gig had to be cancelled, but now three McFly concerts have been canned, and that's serious. Yep, McFly were due to play three Hessenthaler promoted events in Ipswich, Romsey and Exeter, but now, with attempts to find alternative funding unsuccessful, all three gigs have been cancelled.

The announcement from the McFly camp follows that confirmation last week that a Status Quo concert due to take place at Hatton House in Warwick at the end of the month was being cancelled as a result of John Hessenthaler Productions' liquidation.

Spokesmen for both McFly and Status Quo have apologised for the cancellations, stressing that they are completely out of the control of the respective artists. Meanwhile the administrator dealing with the liquidation, Ensors Chartered Accountants of Ipswich, have said they will be writing to all ticket holders to explain the procedure for claiming back their money.

But don't worry too much - we hear a rumour that a Hessenthaler promoted Will Young concert may have been rescued by a last minute sponsorship package, so everything is alright with the world again.

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LIVE REVIEW: JJ72 at The Underworld on 12 Jul
An early JJ72 gig I went to had members of Suede, Blur and the Manics in the audience, but that was three years ago and such is the fickle nature of the music biz that celebrity fans are absent tonight. It's rather a shame that the band's comeback hasn't received the attention and acclaim it deserves. They were always a dynamic live band and they still are, although now there's been a line up change amongst the Irish trio, with aloof bassist Hilary Woods being replaced by kohl eyed rock chick Sarah Fox. Her playing suits the band's move away from their earlier more poppy material to a harder edged rock sound. JJ72 open with a raucous new track 'Heat' and showcase several more tracks from their forthcoming album, including recent download-only epic 'She's Gone' and new single proper 'Coming Home', set for release next month. Early hits like the angsty, anthemic 'October Swimmer' and the glorious, uplifting 'Oxygen' are as affecting as ever. But also tracks from the band's overlooked and underrated second album sound magnificent. Mark Greaney still looks like a golden haired choir boy but he is utterly convincing as a guitar hero and an ear-catching vocalist. More than anything, tonight's gig made me realise how emotionally hollow many of the current crop of bands are. Mark performs acoustic versions of 'Improv' and 'Brother Sleep' which are mesmerising. I'm very glad indeed that JJ72 are back and I can't wait for the new album due in the autumn. JW

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LADYTRON ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM AND LIVE DATES
Ladytron have announced that they will release their new album 'Witching Hour' through Universal's Island Records on 12 Sep, with the next single from the thirteen track long player 'Destroy Everything You Touch' set for a 29 Aug release. A full tour will be announced shortly, but in the meantime, you can catch them at the Reading and Leeds festivals and at a T On The Fringe gig on 30 Aug at Edinburgh's Princes St Gardens, supporting Franz Ferdinand.

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DJ FORMAT DATES
Hurrah. I love DJ Format. So I'll be putting all these DJ and live dates in my diary, and then, um, trying very hard to make it to one of them:

DJ Dates:
22 Jul: Wales Wakestock
29 Jul: Stratford Upon Avon Global Gathering
31 Jul: London Isle of MTV Launch Party, 93 Feet East & The Truman Brewery Complex
9 Sep: Lincoln University

Live Dates - Featuring Abdominal & D-Sisive:
26 Aug: Reading Festival
27 Aug: Leeds Festival
28 Aug: TDK Festival (Scratch stage)
31 Aug: Plymouth The Quay Club
2 Sep: Brighton Union
4 Sep: Ireland Electric Picnic Festival

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CHART UPDATE
There's a very good reason why James Blunt's single 'You're Beautiful' has slipped up to number one seven weeks after entering the singles chart, and I'll let you know what it is just as soon as I think of it. Yep, former army officer Blunt is at number one, a sign that the 'in at the top and then out' trend in the singles chart might be at an end now that download sales are being added in to the mix. Singles have been lingering in the top ten much more since the inclusion of digital stats and, while I don't know what the breakdown is between download and physical sales of 'You're Beautiful', the fact the track is also at number two in this week's download chart (and is the highest rating download that is also eligible for the main chart) is sure to have had an affect.

Anyway, enough of that, on to the new entries. Elton John has the highest at 4 with 'Electricity' (his duet with Tupac Shakur still at number 2). Other new entries stack up like this: Inaya Day's 'Nasty Girl' at 9, Deep Dish's 'Say Hello' at 14, Editors' 'Blood' at 18, Raveonettes' 'Love In A Trashcan' at 26, REM's 'Wanderlust' at 27, Rooster's 'Deep & Meaningless' at 29, Paddingtons' '50 To A Pound' at 32, Lemon Jelly's 'Make Things Right' at 33, Kooks' 'Eddie's Gun' at 35 and Idlewild's 'El Capitan' at 39.

Mr Blunt is also top of the lovely albums chart with 'Back To Bedlam'. Little to report new entries wise except that Charlotte Church's 'Tissues & Issues' enters at 5 and a Gipsy Kings best of is new at 32.

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SONIC YOUTH RE-RELEASE
Sonic Youth are to release an expanded version of their classic 1990 album 'Goo'. Out on 12 Sep, the 2 CD release will include the original album remastered plus remixed and remastered versions of the band's eight-track demos, b-sides, rehearsal out-takes and some other gubbins. Full track listing as follows:

CD1: 'Dirty Boots', 'Tunic (Song for Karen)', 'Mary-Christ', 'Kool Thing', 'Mote', 'My Friend Goo', 'Disappearer', 'Mildred Pierce', 'Cinderella's Big Score', 'Scooter and Jinx', 'Titanium Expose', 'Lee #2', 'That's All I Know (Right Now)' (Neon Boys cover version & b-side), 'The Bedroom' (b-side), 'Dr. Benway's House' (as featured on William Burroughs' tribute album), 'Tuff Boyz' (rehearsal outtake)

CD2: 'Tunic' (demo, 'Number One (Disappearer)' (demo), 'Titanium Expose' (demo), 'Dirty Boots' (demo), 'Corky (Cinderella's Big Score)' (demo), 'My Friend Goo' (demo), 'Bookstore (Mote)' (demo), 'Animals (Mary-Christ)' (demo), 'DV 2 (Kool Thing)' (demo), 'Blowjob (Mildred Pierce)' (demo), 'Lee #2' (demo), 'I Know There's an Answer' (Beach Boys cover), 'Can Song'('The Bedroom') (demo), 'Isaac' (Rehearsal outtake), 'Goo Interview Flexi'

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AIM APPOINT NEW COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT
The Association Of Independent Music has appointed Terri Anderson of Big Red Kite Communications as corporate communications consultant, with a brief to advise and work on medium and long term strategic development of government, public, media and music industry relations. So don't go saying we didn't tell you.

Announcing the appointment, AIM boss Alison Wenham told CMU: "Terri has observed, reported on - and shouldered senior executive roles within the UK music industry during two decades of fascinating, rapid and sometimes tumultuous change. She has particular understanding and experience in relation to the trade bodies and copyright organisations, and has won respect for her strategic communications work. Her contribution will add significantly to our resources."

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NEW JANET JACKSON ALBUM STUFF
Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam have spoken to Billboard about their work on the new and as yet untitled album from Janet Jackson. The long player will be the follow up to 'Damita Jo', which was released in 2004, shortly after the Super Bowl palaver, and is executive produced by Janet's partner, Jermaine Dupri.

Lewis said: "It used to be a lot of involvement from all of us, and at some point when Janet became more confident with her writing ability, she [did] the bulk of the writing. And it's kind of back full circle. We're all kind of back in there doing it again together, which I really enjoy."

Jam added, "It's the physical nature of sitting in the same room and really hashing it out. It's like, 'You're not going to leave until we got a lyric,' so it's fun."

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TRACY CHAPMAN ALBUM TOUR
Hurrah. The legend that is Tracy Chapman will be touring the UK later this year following the release of new album 'Where You Live' on 12 Sep. Here are those dates.

6 Nov: Edinburgh, Playhouse
7 Nov: Manchester, Apollo
9 Nov: London, Hammersmith Apollo
13 Nov: Birmingham, NIA Academy
14 Nov: Brighton, Brighton Centre

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JAH WOBBLE SET FOR NEW RELEASE
Former PiL bassist Jah Wobble is to release a new album, 'Mu', on 12 Sep via Trojan Records, and has been talking to Billboard.com about the largely instrumental LP. Wobble says the new album harkens back to his successful earlier work: "I think I got onto quite a roll in the early '90s, and got quite a nice blend that for the time, had quite the commercial elements, as well as being fairly groundbreaking in a way. And it culminated in 'Take Me to God', which in old kind of terms, was a double album. I just decided, that's it - from then on I'm just going to make these very particular kind of albums. Until I really feel the need or just get the urge to do that kind of stuff that crosses over, I'm going to please myself. Which is what I've done. And lo and behold, it wasn't at the beginning of this project, it was about halfway through; it was like, 'Oh my God, I'm writing songs again,' and I don't know why - it just happened."

On persistent rumours of a reunion with PiL bandmate John Lydon, Wobble said: "I've heard a lot of rumors - a few people have phoned up about this the last few weeks. People are actually making kind of concrete offers in regards in record deals. It's quite amazing really. The only way that would happen is, for pride's sake, we would have to do something new. I think it can get sad if you just go down the road of putting stuff together for memories sake. It becomes almost like a covers band."

He went on "I've seen John twice since PiL finished, and we got on both times. We say nice things generally about each other, because it would be stupid not to. John's a cunt, but I love him."

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USHER OPENS CAMP FOR YOUNG TALENT
Usher has begun a summer camp for minority youth talent from his home city of Atlanta. The R&B star turned up last week at the first day of 'Camp New Look', a two week programme for 150 eight to eighteen year olds at Clark Atlanta University, where singing, dancing and basketball prodigies will learn all about those industries. Usher said: "This is truly about learning the business side. You're not going to learn it all overnight, but maybe, just maybe, you'll learn enough to change your life."

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SONYBMG COO STANDS DOWN
SonyBMG boss Andrew Lack has announced the major label's Chief Operating Officer, Michael Smellie, is leaving to spend more time with his family. Smellie was a senior BMG exec, and insiders say he played an important role in the success of the Sony/BMG merger, ensuring some balance after Sony boss Lack got the top job at the merged company. He will leave the major at the end of the year, though he will stay connected with SonyBMG in a consulting role.

In a memo to his staff, Lack wrote: "It is with great regret that I announce that Michael Smellie has decided to step down from his position as Chief Operating Officer, Sony BMG, effective December 31, 2005. For personal reasons he has decided to return to Sydney so he can spend more time with his family. Michael has played a key role in the conception and integration of SonyBMG and for this I am very grateful. While Michael will be returning to his home country at the end of the year, he has agreed to stay on as a consultant and advisor to me. I'm sure you will join me in thanking him for his tremendous contributions. I am genuinely pleased that this is not a good-bye, but rather the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship."

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CHRIS MARTIN WROTE BEGGING LETTER TO KRAFTWERK
Chris Martin was apparently so keen to use a Kraftwerk sample for Coldplay track 'Talk' that he wrote a begging letter in very basic German to Kraftwerk's Ralf Hutter.

Contactmusic.com quotes Martin as saying: "The only thing I could think of was the pen pal letters I learnt in German lessons at school. I had no idea if they knew who Coldplay were so had to explain myself like a 15 year-old school-boy; Dear Ralf, I sing in a band called Coldplay, blah, blah. I drew a little picture. Everyone says it's extraordinary that they said yes.'

Yes, dear. It really is.

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VILLAGE PERSON ARRESTED
Victor Lewis, of the Village People, has been arrested after police found a 45 calibre handgun as well as rock cocaine and drug paraphernalia when they stopped him in his car recently. Willis, who co-wrote the groups hits and was the one who dressed like a policeman, was charged with six felony counts after traces of cocaine were also found at the former pop star's mobile home in California.

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JESSICA AND NICK PLAN TO ADOPT
Jessica Simpson and husband Nick Lachey are apparently planning to adopt children. According to IOL.com she said that she tried to adopt a child from a Mexican orphanage when she was sixteen. "That's what I wanted for my birthday but I couldn't legally get a baby across the Mexican border." She went on to say that she and her husband will put the wheels in motion in the next twelve months. Simpson added "I'll end up doing something which will touch somebody in some way that's good...through orphanages."

Well, God bless you. And God bless America.

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