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The 2010 Edinburgh Festival is mere days away from getting started.

Not, perhaps, something you see as particularly relevant to a weekly music bulletin (though there is an extensive music programme up there, don't you know), but, as some of you might know, our sister publication ThreeWeeks is the main media up there and, as a result, the UnLimited Media office is currently in meltdown.

Anyway, this is my excuse for breaking rank and talking about comedy instead of music this week. Comedy and controversy. And who doesn't like both of those? No one, that's who. The controversy in question stems from a new addition to the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, once the Perrier Comedy Awards, then the IF.comedy Awards, now the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

With a new sponsor in place, a public vote section has been added to the proceedings, searching for the 'Foster's Comedy God'. All 173 acts who have ever been nominated in the awards' 30 year history are up for the prize. All were considered new(ish) acts when they received their original nominations, though some have gone on to become household names.

Some, though, haven't. A fact which has led some to say that the whole new public vote award is unfair, because the new gong will most likely go to a recent telly star rather than a true comedy genius from Edinburghs past. The most notable critic has been Stewart Lee, who upon learning of the new award wrote an angry email berating awards boss Nica Burns for allowing such a thing.

This week Lee published a new response to the awards, one not written late at night while, ironically, slightly drunk on Foster's lager. Amongst the various reasons for taking umbrage with the vote, he points out that the acts that have most recently been on TV are always going to be most likely to win, regardless of whether or not they are any better than the lesser known comedians on the list. And it's true the top five contenders based on votes already cast include Tim Minchin, Michael McIntyre, Russell Howard and Ross Noble.

However, none of these four men are number one. No, currently sitting at the top of the poll is Japanese performance art duo Frank Chickens, who were nominated for the Perrier Award in 1984. They were mentioned by Lee as one of the acts who would lose out because of the nature of the public vote, which has perversely led to them topping the chart.

Who knows if they will manage to stay there all the way through next month until 25 Aug, when voting closes. Maybe not, but if they do - even though that'll mean they've won because of Lee's ranting rather than their earlier eighties act - a pretty much unknown alternative comedy duo being declared 'comedy gods' seems more in the spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe, rather than a 'who's been on the telly most recently' result where Michael McIntyre would most likely win, even though he is possibly the worst stand-up comedian to have ever walked the Earth (just saying things enthusiastically doesn't make them comedic, stop encouraging him).

You can vote here. Meanwhile, to ease us back into the world of music, let's enjoy Frank Chickens' 1984 hit 'We Are Ninja (Not Geisha)' on YouTube: youtu.be/cXZanbZ6PWs

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU

PS: One more Edinburgh-related thing. We've teamed up with ThreeWeeks to bring you some Powers Of Ten playlists from people performing up there in Scotland next month. Look out for those in your inbox from next Friday and throughout August.


The founder of Love Parade has announced he is bringing the German techno festival to an end after 21 people were killed and hundreds were injured in a stampede at last weekend's event. Tragedy struck at the legendary free dance music event, this year taking place in Duisburg, when a crowd surge occurred at the only public entry point to the festival site. Originally put at 15 on Saturday, the death toll has continued to rise throughout the week as more succumb to their injuries.
Plastic Bertrand, real name Roger Jouret, admitted this week that he did not sing his 1977 hit 'Ça Plane Pour Moi', after a linguist told a Brussels court that the song was sung in and specific French regional accent that could not have been mimicked by the Belgian performer. Jouret admitted on Wednesday that he did not sing the song, but that the actual singer, producer Lou Deprijck (who is being sued by record label AMC for claiming to be the original singer), had sworn him to secrecy on the promise of paying him a royalty from the track.
One of our favourite Radio 1 DJs has announced she's leaving the nation's favourite after fourteen years to pursue other projects. Announcing her decision to leave the BBC station, Mary Anne said: "My current experimental show is in peak condition, it's never been stronger. And although it's a very emotional decision to leave the show that I love so much, it's also an optimum moment to bow out, at the very top of my game". Her final show will be broadcast in September.
Medical instruments and other items used to prepare Elvis' body for display at the singer's funeral in 1977 have been withdrawn from sale at an upcoming auction. The items had apparently been kept by a former embalmer, who wished to remain anonymous but had worked at the Memphis Funeral Home at the time of Elvis' death and funeral. The items had been expected to reach up to $14,000 at the auction on 12 Aug, but were withdrawn when the funeral home claimed ownership of them.
A woman claiming to be the daughter of Michael Jackson and Diana Ross's older sister, Barbara Ross-Lee, has launched a lawsuit to be granted a DNA test to prove her paternity claim. Mocienne Petit claims that she was the result of a one-night stand in 1975, which was covered up by the Jackson family. However, Petit's paternity claims have been hindered somewhat by Ross-Lee denying that she ever met Michael Jackson. She also says she isn't Petit's mother, that the claimant has been harrassing her for some time, and that the new lawsuit is "bizarre".
Leona Lewis has reportedly canned plans for a world tour because her boyfriend's left her. According to the Sunday Mirror, the former 'X-Factor' winner plans to mope around the studio instead, recording some new tunes for a deluxe version of her 'Echo' album. Once in the studio Lewis is expected to also start work on a third album, working title 'Rubbish Excuses For Cancelling Tours'.

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Adam Freeland
Adam Freeland, producer, DJ and record label owner (he heads up the brilliant Marine Parade Records) has long been an innovator in the dance genre, often instigating new musical domains where others quickly follow, only to see Freeland innovating anew and taking us all on the next stage of an exciting musical journey. His DJ sets, mix albums and remixes (his 'Fever' and 'Hello, I Love You' reworks are masterpieces of the remix discipline) are legendary, but it's his artist albums that we find most exciting.

Last year Freeland released his first album with his band, also called freeland, 'COPE(tm)', his first LP since 2003 solo effort 'Now & Then'. 'COPE(tm)' saw Adam collaborating with the likes of The Pixies' Joey Santiago, Spinnerette's Tony Bevilacqua, DEVO's Jerry Casale and the legend that is Tommy Lee, as well as newcomer Kurt Baumann, the main vocalist on the album.

Earlier this month, Adam was back solo again, returning with a storming new single, 'How To Fake Your Own Life', constructed with layered sounds, live drums and massive vocoder vocal riff. With the track still ringing in our ears, we asked Adam to put together a Powers Of Ten playlist for us, and my did he come up with the goods. Have a listen here and read on to find out why Adam chose these tracks.

01 Nine Inch Nails Beside You In Time
  It always seemed odd to me that the electronic music community largely missed out on what NIN were doing, despite the fact that half the time Trent Reznor was beating them at their own game. I'm kind of obsessed by drones and this song is based on one constant drone that builds to fever pitch. I often open DJ sets with it.
02 The Units High Pressure Days
  No one I play this to believes me when I tell them it was released in 1979. It's pretty much the birth of synthpunk, dubbed as "the first San Francisco band to play with no guitars". If it wasn't for the drum production slightly dating it, you'd think it was the Guardian Guide's latest new band crush.
03 School Of Seven Bells Sempiternal/Amaranth
  They have just released a new album, but this is from their first. The whole psychedelic atmosphere of the song, the content of the lyrics and a two minute drone wig out ending tick all the boxes I need in order to get excited about a song.
04 The Stooges Down On The Street
  This it the first track on the 'Funhouse' album. It's actually been my ringtone for a couple of years, so I hear this more than almost anything else, and it never tires. Pure distilled punk rock to its finest rawness. I never quite 'got' Iggy and The Stooges until I heard them live in LA a couple of years ago. They blew me away, and that gig is now in my top three live shows ever.
05 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Take My Time/Rifles
  I can't say this track is any better than the others on this their debut album 'BRMC', the whole record is just the perfect shoegaze stoner rock. There's something about the way they play that also has a very loopy electronic feel, although there are definitely no electronics going on. The blueprint for my recent album 'COPE' was 'BRMC meets the dance floor'.
06 Friendly Fires Paris (Aeroplane Mix)
  The magic combo - a great band with a great song who choose a great remixer who does something better than the original. Aeroplane are getting the hype right now, but this mix from last year is my favourite thing they have done.
07 Subway Persuasion
  Another electronic act that slipped under the radar - check the album 'Subway II'. Very listenable, beautiful, bouncy, melodic analogue synth anthems.
08 Cinnamon Chasers Luv Deluxe
  A beautiful instrumental pop classic. It's all the good stuff I like about a good pop song without the crap song underneath!
09 Caribou Sun
  It's the production quality/technique that is often a big part of the writing for me. This whole album, 'Swim', is put together so well and is so original from a sonics point of view that its atmosphere dominates the songwriting. Also, 'Niobe' from the last album is a must.
10 Dapayk & Padberg feat Caro Island (Noze Remix)
  When I close a set with this, there's usually a line of spotters queued up to find out what it is afterwards. Another sure-to-be-an-anthem that slipped under the radar.
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Wyclef Jean's 'people' respond to rumours that he may run for president of Haiti: "Wyclef's commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless, and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward. [He] has not announced his intent to run for Haitian president. If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately"
Journalist claims all surviving Beach Boys are reuniting, Mike Love says no, Al Jardine says yes, Mike Love says this: "There have been a lot of ideas floated, but nothing decided. So far it's just conversation. There are no big plans yet - although there's a lot of interest from a lot of people to see what would happen if we got together and did some new music and maybe did some shows"
Elton John hits out at the growing number of musicians boycotting Arizona in protest against new immigration laws: "We are all very pleased to be playing in Arizona. I have read that some of the artists won't come here. They are fuckwits! Let's face it, I still play in California, and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever. So what the fuck's with these people?"
Damon Albarn says he is to blame for criticism of Gorillaz's performance at Glastonbury: "We were yet to change the dynamic entirely from the cartoon band [with us] acting purely as a film orchestra into something that had more of a human element to it. Basically, the difference between that and the next gig we did at Roskilde was I just communicated with the audience more"
After writing an incredibly personal debut album, Emmy The Great revealed that she's tried to make songs for her second album less so, which has led her to penning lyrics that cover the tricky subject of dinosaur sex: "Someone just said ['dinosaur sex'] out loud once and it made me laugh. The point of that song is, 'What did it do?' It did absolutely fuck all for them, did it?"
In an attempt to appease fans of The Faces who don't appreciate him standing in for Rod Stewart on the band's reunion tour, Mick Hucknall says that he's best and Rod would just ruin everything anyway: "It's a shame that Rod can't do it but then Rod isn't the Rod of 1973. Those songs, the keys are so high and it's pretty intense staying at that kind of pitch for the whole night"
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  Alex Metric remixes classic Beastie Boys. Alex Metric has seen his reputation as one of the UK's finest new producers and remixers rise exponentially in the last year. His most recent effort is a remix of Beastie Boys classic, 'Sabotage'. Sacrilege if attempted by many, but in safe hands with Metric, he keeps the essence of the original while spinning it into a wholly modern-sounding production - youtu.be/FEKhzH0Kc6M
  Zach Hill. Drummer with noise rock types Hella, Zach Hill has announced that his second solo album, 'Face Tat', will be released through Sargeant House on 19 Oct. The opening track, 'Memo To The Man', is available now as a free download, and sees Hill's idiosyncratic drumming style complemented by Deerhoof stick waver, Greg Saunier, with abstract guitar squeals from Tera Melos' Nick Reinhart - refused.tv/zh/MemototheMan.mp3
  Young Empires. Canadian pop trio Young Empires formed in Toronto late last year and nine months later are starting to turn an increasing number of heads with a handful of impressive demos, which have been distributed liberally around the blogosphere. They refer to their sound as 'world beat haute rock', which apparently means house beats with pop synths and the odd African or Middle Eastern flourish - myspace.com/youngempires
  Our Broken Garden. The sometime Efterklang keyboardist Anna Bronsted has announced that she will release the second album by her solo project Our Broken Garden later this year. Entitled 'Golden Sea', the album will be released through Bella Union on 18 Oct. A track from the album, 'Garden Grows', is available to listen to on SoundCloud now - soundcloud.com/bella-union/our-broken-garden-garden-grows
  Rica Minami. In Rica Minami's songs, jazz, math-rock drumming and gentle pop all slip together completely naturally. Often, they sound like they were written to be much heavier and then stripped down - a perfect example of this being 'Kingyo', which has a breakdown in the middle that you can see creating a frantic mosh pit, if it wasn't played softly on piano rather than thrashed out on a guitar - myspace.com/ricaminami
  Justin Bieber's Segway getaway. I think we're getting a bit of a reputation for having a Justin Bieber obsession. But can we help it if he's an endless source of comedy? No we can't. Just look at this video. Earlier this week the screechy popster attempted to escape from a pack of screaming fans on a Segway. A fucking Segway! Turns out they don't go as fast as he might have liked - youtu.be/SAAg6ePGZUE
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  Q1 How did you start out making music?
TIËSTO: "I was interested in music from an early age. I would listen to a radio show called the Soul Show, and to Ben Liebrand's mix show, where he would remix different tracks, and one day I just decided that I wanted to give it a try. I started to buy records and put together mixes, making them the way I thought they should sound"

Read more of Tiësto's answers
  Q2 What inspired your latest album?
THE DANDY WARHOLS: "Albums for us are just collections of music that has happened since the last album. I have never just sat down and written an album, the individual songs are what require a direct subject matter or inspiration. Each one, of course, is different, but mostly I write songs to deal with frustration or unhappiness, and if you were to really analyse my lyrics you would probably find that nearly all of that frustration and unhappiness is caused by other people. I guess in that way you could say that other people inspire my records... but mostly in a bad way, really"

Read more of The Dandy Warhols' answers
  Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
ALI LOVE: "With this selection of songs the production is very important - different to writing a song on guitar. It's about the textures of the synthesizers and the instrumentation and the way it's pieced together. It's a very technical job to to piece it together. All the equipment was from 1975 - 1985, nothing older than that. It's very fiddly but creates a much warmer texture than if you were to use digital"

Read more of Ali Love's answers
  Q4 Which artists influence your work?
THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART: "Lots of Glasgow bands (The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, Orange Juice) and American bands (Yo La Tengo, The Ramones, Smashing Pumpkins). We were all pretty big music nerds growing up and could go on about this for quite a while, but I've been told there's a word limit so..."

Read more of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's answers
  Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
RIVER NELSON: "I would say to prepare yourself for a hip hop album that will make you feel good and spark your imagination. You'll experience themes of hope, struggle, beauty and love, and hear some solid hip hop tracks, by one of the most respected producers from the UK, Lewis Parker"

Read more of River Nelson's answers
  Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
DJ FRESH: "I'm putting together a new live project with Adam F called WTF!?. We'll be doing some gigs next year and might play a couple of my tracks, we're not sure yet. But after three years work on 'Kryptonite', my main aim right now is to get it into as many ears as possible"

Read more of DJ Fresh's answers
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#29: Kings Of Leon v Critical pigeons
Kings Of Leon frontman Caleb Followill recently told Q: "A lot of people talked bad about my songwriting at the start [of our career]". It's probably safe to say that no one dropped their pants and instigated some kind of 'dirty protest' against their music though. It's not clear if the band's most recent critics did so out of a dislike of their music or the singer's terrible grasp of the English language ("Talked bad"?). Maybe they were just doing what came naturally. Whatever, last weekend the Kings Of Leon were intimidated by the dirty pigeons*.

In the unlikely event that you've missed this story this week, you will most likely now be very confused, so let me summarise for you: Kings Of Leon played a gig, pigeons pooed all over them.
The band cut their headline set at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St Louis, Missouri short as pigeons in the rafters spread liberal amounts of shit over the stage below, hitting the band as they went. It seems the final straw came when bassist Jared Followill got some in his mouth as they performed 'Taper Jean Girl' from their second album, 'Aha Shake Heartbreak', the third song in the set, though they initially said they were cancelling the rest of the show due to "security reasons".

The band were not unaware of the problem before taking to the stage, support acts The Postelles and The Stills had already suffered the same fate, but struggled through their entire sets. Speaking to Toronto newspaper Eye Weekly, Stills bassist Olivier Corbeil said: "During our second son, 'Lola [Stars & Stripes]', I felt something like an air conditioner drop, or like little droplets of water spray on my face. The carpet onstage was black, and I noticed 10 to 13 brown spots on it and I started worrying - but I figured, if a bird had shit, it won't happen again, so I'm fine".

He continued: "About two to three songs later, I bent over to do, like, a shoegazer move, and I felt something very substantial on the back of my head and down my back and, for the rest of the show I was extremely paranoid and constantly looking up. I couldn't stand in front of my monitors or in front of my bass cab. It was also 100 degrees, so I couldn't take advantage of the stage fans. The choice was either 'fan plus extreme amounts of bird shit', or 'no fan and no bird shit'".

In a statement, issued through a mouthful of pigeon poo (possibly), Jared Followill explained: "We couldn't believe what The Postelles and The Stills looked like after their sets. We didn't want to cancel the show, so we went for it. We tried to play [but] it was ridiculous".

The band's manager Andy Mendelsohn added: "Jared was hit several times during the first two songs. On the third song, when he was hit in the cheek and some of it landed near his mouth, they couldn't deal any longer. It's not only disgusting, it's a toxic health hazard. They really tried to hang in there. We want to apologise to our fans in St Louis and will come back as soon as we can".

Perhaps the Leon boys should be sent to the Cyndi Lauper School Of Pop. Bird shit once landed on her lower lip during a gig in Boston in 2004. She just wiped it off and carried on. Though she has since denied reports that circulated at the time that she actually swallowed some of the stuff.

If you want to know what Kings Of Leon being pooed on actually looks like, someone has handily uploaded a video to YouTube (though I'm not sure that the reactions they claim are as a result of the pigeon attack are actually that): youtu.be/siIQmp4KUoE

*Oh, you may groan, but when am I going to get an opportunity like that again?
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Drew Malt
Topher Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Georgina Stone
Editorial Assistant
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Keith Chegwin
Gag Procurement

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