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OFFICE SPACE AVAILABLE IN SHOREDITCH
HOUSTON DROWNED DUE TO EFFECTS OF COCAINE AND HEART DISEASE
Craig Harver, the Coroner's spokesman, said that marijuana, an anti-anxiety medication, a muscle relaxant and anti-histamine were also present in Houston's system, though none of those directly caused her death.
Houston's problems with drug addiction were well documented of course, though friends hoped she had come out of the worst in more recent times. Nevertheless, the coroner said there were signs that the singer was still a habitual user of cocaine, and that drug likely contributed to her death, presumably by causing her to black out while in the bath tub.
Commenting on the toxicology results for the Houston family, the singer's sister-in-law and manager Patricia Houston told reporters yesterday: "We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure".
ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION FIRES BACK IN BANANA DISPUTE
As previously reported, reps for Lou Reed, John Cale and other former Velvet Underground members began legal proceedings against the Foundation in January over its commercial use of the banana image originally created by Warhol for the cover of the 1967 album 'The Velvet Underground & Nico'.
There is a dispute over who owns the copyright in the image, though the band's lawsuit centred in the main on a concern that when the Foundation allows third parties to use the banana picture it implies endorsement by former members of the musical outfit, citing claims under trademark law. The slightly confusing copyright element of the case was amended by the claimants last month, making the trademark element all the more important.
In their bid to have the case dismissed, reps for the Foundation claim that trademark protection is only available to going concerns, and that as the band split in 1972 they haven't been a going concern for a very long time. They also say that the band's main gripe regarding the licensing of the banana image relates to an Absolut vodka advert eleven years ago, but that - the defendants argue - does not constitute "ongoing licensing activity", as claimed in the original lawsuit.
It remains to be seen how the judge hearing the case responds.
ASA RECEIVES COMPLAINT ABOUT UNSIGNED BANDS COMPETITION
The band say that they were promised two festival sets as part of their prize, including an all-expenses paid trip to perform at a festival in India, plus an amplifier worth £1500, but have so far received nothing. By taking their complaint to the ASA, the band presumably reckon they were misled by the competition's advertising materials in breach of the Authority's code of conduct, though the powers of the advertising industry regulator are somewhat limited in a case like this.
Organisers of the five year old new bands competition, which this year is being filmed for a Sky TV programme, say that all the acts who took part in their 2010 edition were notified about the withdrawal of the amp prize before competing, and that the two festival sets promised fell through because the events themselves were cancelled. Live And Unsigned's Chris Grayston added that alternative prizes of greater value had been offered, but either declined or ignored.
Responding to Underline The Sky's ASA complaint, the BBC found some other bands also disgruntled with what they had received after winning elements of past Live And Unsigned competitions, though more past participants and winners seemed pleased with their experiences and winnings when questioned by the Beeb's reporter, including another artist whose prize had had to change post victory.
Among the critics were 2009 indie genre winners The Loaded Dice who said that the promise of a 20 grand investment was tied to a management contract the band didn't feel they could sign, while The Trinity Band from Derby, overall winners of the contest in 2011, were also disappointed, saying a trip to play a festival in Canada was "a shambles", and other UK dates organised by Live And Unsigned promoter Future Music fell though.
They told the BBC: "How are we out of pocket when we have just supposedly won a £50,000 investment? After winning the so called 'largest unsigned competition in the country' we believed there would be a machine or system in place, interviews set up, or a team working on this for us. There wasn't". But Future Music countered that it had, in fact, invested in the 2011 winners, but that they lacked the "organisation and drive to be a very successful band".
Whether the ASA will rule that past advertising by Live And Unsigned actually breached its code remains to be seen, though - as with any hyped unsigned bands competition - the issue here might be more about managing expectations than delivering on a list of prizes. One of those who spoke positively about Future Music's competition to the Beeb stressed that participating was a good experience providing wannabe bands were realistic about what can be achieved in the battle of the bands arena.
Thom Rylance from Manchester band The Lottery Winners: "If I'm asked, which I often am, if I would recommend a band to enter Live And Unsigned I'd say: 'Of course you should, but don't expect to just become famous overnight, even if you win it, because it just doesn't work that way'".
KISS IT GOODBYE REFORM FOR REVELATION 25TH ANNIVERSARY
Now, let's get on with the real reason for writing this piece, an excuse for us to listen to all eight and a half minutes of 'Sick Day' from their sole album 'She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not...'
BLOC PARTY SIGN TO FRENCHKISS
Writing on the band's website, frontman Kele Okereke said: "It is with great pleasure that I would like to announce to the universe that Bloc Party have now signed to Frenchkiss Records. This signing has made Bloc Party very happy because not only do we know and love the people at this label but we know and love this label's output. Frenchkiss has released some mighty fine music over the years, music that has gone on to influence this very band. So here's to some more mighty fine music".
In other news, Bloc Party will be re-releasing their debut single on Transgressive Records, 'She's Hearing Voices', for this year's Record Store Day.
Oh, and in other other news, Bloc Party are officially back together and recording a new album. I'm not sure we've actually mentioned that here before.
BMG SIGNS BRUNO
Confirming the new deal, BMG boss man Hartwig Masuch told reporters: "We are thrilled that Bruno Mars - one of contemporary music's most creative and prolific songwriters - has joined the BMG roster. His decision to sign with us reflects our commitment to make BMG a home for the best music talent in the world".
While BMG North America's Exec VP Richard Blackstone added: "In such a short time, Bruno Mars has created a tremendous footprint in the musical world. Whether he's writing for himself or others, he creates magic and there is simply no limit to where his talent can take him".
M83 RELEASING EP
As well as the original version of the single, the EP will also include six 'Reunion' remixes by Mylo, The Naked And Famous, We Have Band, White Sea, Sei A and Polly Scattergood.
Prior to the full set's release via Naïve on 7 May, here's Annie Mac to introduce/talk over the aforementioned Mylo mix:
MY BLOODY VALENTINE TO REISSUE CLASSIC ALBUMS, EP COLLECTION
The reissues will include the band's first studio album, 1988's 'Isn't Anything', as "painstakingly remastered" by vocalist Kevin Shields. There'll also be a two-disc version of 1991's 'Loveless' that features an early edition of the LP remastered from analogue tapes and a brand new compilation featuring all four MBV EPs plus seven rare/unreleased tracks entitled 'EPs 1988-1991'. Each is a separate release, so we're not talking a My Bloody Boxset here.
Nevertheless, feel free to show a little lo-fi excitement... now.
PIXIE GELDOF BAND PREVIEWS NEW SINGLE
Says Pixie of the Hole track from which Violet borrow their moniker: "The music is dark and aggressive but it's still a love song; there's still a soft sentiment to it, the lyrics are fragile".
She adds: "I like that juxtaposition in music but I've kind of reversed it in my work. I wanted to music to be soft but the lyrics to be darker and heavier".
Well, that makes sense. Let's all give Violet and 'YOU' a chance, shall we? After all, as was argued in the CMU office, "at least it isn't Peaches". Or Bob. Or Courtney.
KREAYSHAWN DETAILS DEBUT LP
'Somethin Bout Kreay', by the way, is out this summer.
NEON INDIAN SETS VILLAGE UNDERGROUND DATE, FEATURES IN MALICK FILM THRILLER
The Twin Shadow remix of said track - as is taken from Neon Indian's 2011 album 'Era Extrana' - will be issued in lime-green vinyl format on Record Store Day. Stream the remix here: soundcloud.com/the-405/neon-indian-hex-girlfriend
Polomo is also one of several acts billed to appear in a forthcoming movie from critically acclaimed 'Tree Of Life' director Terence Malick, who was present at this year's SxSW to film scenes his latest project. Live footage of Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes will also feature in 'Lawless', a thriller centring on "two intersecting love triangles, sexual obsession and betrayal, set against the music scene in Austin, Texas". It stars Christian Bale and 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' actress Roony Mara, and is set to premiere in 2013.
65DAYSOFSTATIC TO PLAY MONOTREME RECORDS' TENTH ANNIVERSARY PARTY
Reigns and Midas Fall are also down to appear at the birthday bash, which takes place at The Garage in North London on 10 Apr.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country, Isle of Wight, 6-9 Sep: Just confirmed closing headliner Stevie Wonder is to make Bestival the site of his sole UK festival appearance this year, with New Order, Spitirualized, Sister Sledge Sigur Rós, Justice, Bat For Lashes, SBTRKT, Grimes, Two Door Cinema Club and The xx also ever present on the overall programme. www.bestival.net
FIELD DAY, Victoria Park, East London, 2 Jun: Fresh additions including Austra, Jessie Ware, Crocodiles, Kassem Mosse, Laurel Halo and Summer Camp give a significant boost to Field Day's already considerable 'cool factor', as is ably embodied by existing bookings Franz Ferdinand, Death Grips, Metronomy, The Vaccines, The Men, Kindness, Grimes, Hudson Mohawke, Gold Panda, Liars and Mazzy Star. fielddayfestivals.com
GIG IN THE PARK, Halesworth, Suffolk, 10-12 Aug: Those Fun Lovin Criminals figure highly amongst the first fixtures set to play GITP's 2012 instalment, with Nine Below Zero, Katrina (minus The Waves), Belter, Lee Vasey and Buster James also serving to fill space on the bill so far. www.giginthepark.co.uk
HEINEKEN OPEN'ER, Babie Doly Airfield, Gydnia, Poland, 4-7 Jul: It's four more for Poland's premier beer-backed happening, as Mumford & Sons, The Maccabees, Orbital and Tory Y Moi are new to occupy a bill shared by Björk, Justice, The xx, Franz Ferdinand and SBTRKT. www.opener.pl/en
LATITUDE, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, 12-15 Jul: Lana Del Rey, Ben Howard, Phenomenal Handclap Band and AV arts collective Noise Of Art serve as extra adornment to an already highly decorative Latitude line-up, joining Bon Iver, Paul Weller, Elbow, Bat For Lashes, Janelle Monáe, M83, Chairlift, The Horrors and Wild Beasts. www.latitudefestival.co.uk
WAKESTOCK, Abersoch, North Wales, 6-8 Jul: Ms Dynamite, All-American Rejects, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Redlight and Breakage crest the latest wave of acts to strike the Wakestock roster, the extended version of which also features Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris, Dizzee Rascal, Katy B, Azealia Banks, Disclosure, Rizzle Kicks and DJ Fresh. www.wakestock.co.uk
S-CURVE ANNOUNCES WARNER ALLIANCE
Confirming the new partnership, the founder of S-Curve, Steve Greenberg, told reporters: "Christian [Tattersfield] and his team [at Warner UK] are true music people, filled with passion for songs and artists. I look forward to great success for our artists around the world. I started my career at Warner Music International some years ago, and so personally it's really exciting to come full circle".
Meanwhile Warner UK boss Christian Tattersfield added: "Steve and his team at S-Curve are adept at spotting truly unique talents, who make highly original records, with the potential to reach global audiences. Steve's own abilities as a songwriter and producer combine with his understanding of the business to enable him to provide artists with invaluable support, both creatively and commercially".
Although its biggest success to date was probably with the Baha Men and their 'Who Let The Dogs Out' album and single, S-Curve have also worked with the likes of Joss Stone, Fountains Of Wayne, Tom Jones and Duran Duran. The label had a distribution partnership with EMI for much of its first decade in business, but has been working with Universal's distribution division in North America since 2010. That arrangement will presumably co-exist with the new Warner alliance for the rest of the world.
BBC AND MUSICIANS BENEVOLENT FUND ANNOUNCE NEW GRANT SCHEMES
There will be two music-focused initiatives. The Community Music funding scheme will launch in May and offer grants of up to five grand for UK-based grass roots music groups looking to carry out training, attract new audiences or raise their profile in their community. The Music Fellowships scheme will kick off in August and offer funding for individuals looking to establish themselves in the professional world through bespoke placements within existing music organisations.
Dorothy Wilson, Chair of the BBC Performing Arts Fund, told CMU: "Music has been part of the BBC Performing Arts Fund since it was formed out of 'Fame Academy'. We will continue that support by investing in community groups such as choirs, bands and orchestras as well as nurturing new talent across the UK".
Elsewhere, the Musicians Benevolent Fund also launched a new funding programme this week called the Emerging Excellence Awards. Also aimed at individuals at the start of their careers - though specifically performers and composers - grants of up to three grand will be available "to fund an important development opportunity, project or extended programme of activity that will have a lasting impact on their professional career".
Said the Fund's CEO David Sulkin: "This is an exciting opportunity for some of the most talented and adventurous young musicians to receive targeted support towards their creative and professional development. We know from recent research that the first few years in the profession can be a struggle and the Musicians Benevolent Fund wants to help address that".
The first round of applications closes on 21 May - helpmusicians.org.uk/eea
RADIO ROUND UP: FATBOY FOR X, DONNY FOR SMOOTH, CAPITAL CHANGES, AND ANOTHER HEART
First up Fatboy Slim is joining Xfm to present ten programmes, a series of hour-long mixes under the name 'On The Road To Big Beach Bootique 5'. It will go out on the station each Saturday at 6pm up to the weekend of the Big Beach Bootique event, which will take place at Brighton's Amex Stadium on 2 Jun.
Says Xfm Programme Director Andy Ashton: "Norman's position in Xfm's history is unquestionable, with so many amazing records and mixes over the years supported by our network. I'm extremely excited to announce this new show as part of our 20 year celebrations and I cannot wait to see the impact Norman will have on Xfm's weekend offering for the spring and early summer season".
Second, Donny Osmond is joining Smooth Radio to host a new Sunday night 'lifestyle show', which I think is a new UK version of his existing American radio programmed, which is recorded in Las Vegas. Says Smooth Radio's Brand Programme Director Steve Collins: "It is great to be able to bring an artist such as Donny to Smooth Radio. Our listeners have grown up with his music and have followed his life story so we are delighted that he will be joining our line-up each Sunday evening".
Staying with Smooth Radio, it also announced this week that two of its daytime shows will be swapping over. David Jenson will takeover drive time from 4pm to 8pm, while Carlos will move to Jenson's current early afternoon slot, from 1pm to 4pm.
Third, Capital FM is making a bunch of changes to its networked programmes from next week, which air on the Capital branded stations all around the country. Daytime presenter Roberto is bowing out, as is overnights and weekend DJ Luke Smith.
That means evenings guy Rich Clarke gets Roberto's mornings slot, late night presenter James Barr moves to early evenings, and another current overnighter, Will Cozens, gets the late show. Did you follow all that? Weekend DJ Emily Segal and Choice FM's Pandora will then share the overnight shifts between them.
Meanwhile in the East Midlands, presenters of the two local Capital FM shows in that region are swapping slots, so that Twiggy and Emma will get drive time and Dino and Pete breakfast. Capital FM East Midlands' Programme Director Dick Stone told Radio Today: "We are looking forward to Dino and Pete bringing their dynamic mix of chat, fun and music to the breakfast show after Easter and delighted to introduce Twiggy and Emma to drivetime. We are convinced the shows will be the perfect way to both wake up to at breakfast and drive home with in the afternoon".
Finally in radio news for now, Capital owner Global Radio also announced it had bought Cornwall-based station Atlantic FM this week, and that it will duly relaunch the station as a new outpost of the Heart Radio network. That announcement led to the boss of UKRD, which operates another station in the county, bemoaning the continued loss of truly local radio services in the UK, and to gloat that his Pirate FM station was now the only properly local commercial radio service in the region.
William Rogers told Radio Today: "The sell out by Atlantic's owners to London based Global will inevitably mean job losses and programming coming from outside the county. So much for Atlantic's owners' commitment to Cornwall as made in their application document to OfCom. We will continue to serve the county, be based in the county, employ local people and work with local businesses. We have no intention of dumping our involvement with Cornwall like the owners of Atlantic have sadly done".
CMU BEEF OF THE WEEK #103: NOEL GALLAGHER V COWS
Animal rights organisation PETA has suggested that Gallagher may be in need of "empathy counselling" after he said in an interview that he was looking forward to taking his two sons, Sonny and Donovan, on holiday to Ireland so that they can "throw stuff at cows".
What's wrong with just throwing things at good old British cows, I'm not sure. Though seemingly this is how Noel used to spend his holidays as a child, so there's an element of nostalgia involved here. Kids had simple tastes back then didn't they? Not like now when they just want to shoot cows in a video game and then watch 'X-Factor'.
Gallagher told The Sun: "At my grandma's in Mayo we'd run around throwing stuff at cows. See, we don't get cows in Manchester, so if you see one you just throw stuff at them. I'm looking forward to bringing my sons over so they can throw stuff at cows as well".
Referencing the award recently given to him by the NME, while possibly failing to spot a sense of humour when they see one, PETA issued a statement saying: "A father whose idea of a family vacation includes traumatising animals who are minding their own business should undergo empathy counselling. It doesn't take a 'godlike genius' to realise that parents have an obligation to teach their children respect for all living beings and that they are creating monsters if they don't teach understanding. If Noel Gallagher wants his sons to grow into decent adults, he would do well to remember that".
It's true. Actually I reckon you can probably trace the petty fighting that caused Oasis to split right back to a childhood spent terrorising cattle. And it's well documented that Steps split in 2001 largely due to the poor moral code adopted by H after pulling the legs off daddy long legses at primary school.
PS: I like cows.