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Today's Headlines
Today's Full Report and Breaking Stories for 01/03/2008

McCartney Secret Heart Surgery
AHN reports: Sir Paul McCartney admitted on Wednesday undergoing secret heart surgery to increase blood. The procedure was performed on the 65-year-old former Beatle during fall.

McCartney underwent a coronary angioplasty which opened up his arteries. It was done at a private hospital after he visited a heart specialist at a London clinic. The popular musician was not feeling well, prompting a visit to the doctor.

"Paul felt there was something not quite right and luckily sought professional help... It's not something that can be left to chance," a friend of McCartney's told the Mirror. - more on this story

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Ne-Yo Sues R.Kelly
Contact Music reports: R. KELLY's promoter has been hit with a lawsuit by singer NE-YO, after he was mysteriously dropped from a prestigious support slot on the R+B superstar's American tour in November (07).

The So Sick hitmaker - real name Shaffer Smith - claims he was kicked off the tour after just two shows because his opening set was getting a better response from the audience than concert headliner Kelly's headline act. At the time of the incident, Kelly's representatives claimed Ne-Yo had never signed a contract.

But in legal papers filed at Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday (31Dec07), Smith alleges he had an "oral agreement" in place with Kelly's promoter, Rowe Entertainment, which is named as the defendant. Smith also says he lost out on $785,000 (GBP392,500) in earnings from the gigs - more on this story

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R.E.M. Set Release
Filter reports: R.E.M. have released details of their 14th studio album, titled Accelerate.

The album, produced by Jacknife Lee – who also produced recent albums by Snow Patrol, Bloc Party and U2 – will be released by Warner Bros. on April 1st.

Accelerate will be the band's first studio album since 2004's Around The Sun - more on this story

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Fall Out Boy To Wed Ashlee?
antiMusic reports: Most people won't care about this one but for all the little girls (or boys) that have their heart set on marrying Pete Wentz, it appears that Ashlee Simpson may beat you to the punch. Contact Music reports:

Actress/singer ASHLEE SIMPSON is sporting a ring on her engagement finger, prompting rumours her rocker boyfriend PETE WENTZ proposed over Christmas.

The couple spent the holiday at the Simpson family home in Texas before celebrating New Year's Eve (31Dec07) in Miami, Florida, where the 23-year-old showed off her latest item of jewellery to photographers. - more on this story

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Simple Plan YouTube Special
PR reports: Simple Plan announced details of its very special New Year's Eve live concert, slated for webcast as part of YouTube and Warner Music Group's annual year-end extravaganza. The festivities herald the upcoming release of the Montreal-based band's hugely anticipated third studio album, "SIMPLE PLAN," arriving in stores and online on February 12th.

The multi-platinum combo hit a secret New York City location to tape its New Year's Eve set in front of an at-capacity audience, with admission exclusively made available to Simple Plan fans. The full-length concert event – also featured critically acclaimed rapper Talib Kweli and the winner of YouTube's first ever "OnTheRise" rap competition, Conceit.

Check Out all the concert footage, behind-the-scenes interviews and soundchecks. - see it here

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North American Exodus
BW&BK reports: Starting 2008 off on the right foot by launching their first North American tour in support of their latest Billboard-charting album, The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A, EXODUS will soon be bringing their trademarked brand of fist-in-the-face music to a back alley near you. In tow will be GOATWHORE from New Orleans, Virginian labelmates ARSIS, and L.A.'s WARBRINGER.

"We tour more and longer and with fewer days off now than we ever did in our 20s," states guitarist Gary Holt in a recent interview with KNAC.com. "I think it has to do more with not lagging and keeping things moving forward. When we were younger, we had the luxury of days off, but days off were expensive. The more shows you do, the less money you burn on the bus being parked outside a Wal-Mart and having the crew do nothing – except maybe drinking a lot.

"Now when we're on the road, we just do our thing and when it's done, we may do a couple of shots, watch a movie, and play Uno for money. It's the most fun when someone's drawing cards trying to find their color and having sh*t for luck. Then we start talking sh*t, like 'Taste the rainbow, motherf*cker…' [laughter]" - more including dates

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Neko Case Tour
Filter reports: Neko Case has announced her first solo touring plans of the new year, currently just six New England dates in the coming weeks.

Neko is currently working on her follow-up album to 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood and has recently re-released her back catalog via Anti-.

Eric Bachmann, of Crooked Fingers, will open all dates. - dates

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Offspring Finishing Up CD
antiMusic reports: A few years ago The Offspring poked fun at Axl Rose and his long delayed Chinese Democracy CD. That was before The Offspring took their sweet time recording the follow up to 2003's Splinter. Frontman Dexter Holland issued an update on Christmas Eve and no, the album isn't quite done yet.

Dexter writes on the band's website: "We're taking a quick break from recording right now to be with our families. Wanna know what's going on with the new record? Well, I've got two lyrics to do, a couple more to sing, and various musical tweaks and fixes to get done. Then we'll be ready to mix.

"We haven't announced a release date yet because we're just not quite close enough to know when we'll be finished. We want to thank all our fans who have been so patient, and we want you to know that we've been in the studio nearly every day now for quite awhile working hard to make a great record."

So it looks like the disc is in the pipe for release sometime this year and of note it will feature the drumming mastery of one Josh Freese. Let's see who gets to record stores first. Dexter or Axl!
- See the full posting

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UK Music Downloads Double
Gigwise reports: Music download sales during the last week of 2007 were twice that of the exact same week 12 months earlier, sales figures released today have revealed.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) believes that with the ongoing popularity of MP3 players as Christmas presents, there was a massive growth surge in music downloads during the festive period.

Over the whole of 2007 there were 77.5million downloads, and a record 2.95million in the last week of the year alone. - more on this story

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Match Made in Hell: K Fed and Paris
Hecklerspray reports: So Kevin Federline has finally moved on from Britney Spears - except that he seems to have moved on to Paris Hilton, which isn't so much 'moving on' as 'doing something especially turd-brained'.

Not that Kevin Federline and Paris Hilton are doing anything particularly romantic in public, of course - at the moment the pair of them have only set tongues wagging by talking to each other in Las Vegas nightclubs two nights in a row.

However, given the difficulty that they both have forming even rudimentary sentences without getting nosebleeds from concentrating too hard, we should obviously take this fact alone as a sign that Kevin Federline and Paris Hilton are doing it and in love and want to get married right away. Even if none of that is true. - more on this story

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Kinks Ponder Reunion
CMJ reports: Might yet another of England's most influential rock bands regroup this year? Well, to hear Ray Davies tell it, absolutely. Speculation of a Kinks reunion in 2008 has been swirling on the strength of comments Davies recently made regarding a possible tour and new album from the four original members—Ray, his brother Dave, Mick Avory and Pete Quaife. London's Daily Mail has quoted Ray as saying, "I spoke to Quaife about a month ago and he dearly wants to make another record with me. I think Dave's getting better and Mick's still playing. It would be great to get back together just to see what musical ideas we had and what would happen."

In a posting on the message board of his website in response to the rumors, Dave seemed reticent at best to get the band back together, writing that "I wouldn't mind or rather consider doing some shows with Ray purely in respect for the great body of work we have both been fortunate to have been involved in over the years. And for the fans of course. And the money don't forget the money Reg, remember what it used to be like before the money, Reg.

"But to sit in a room or studio with him and have my brain and heart slowly sucked out... no friggin thank you," he continued. "Got the T-shirt, overcoat, bruises, psychiatrist, worts, scars, lumbago and somnambulistic gaze to proove it." - more on this story

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All That Remains Checks In
PR reports: Phil Labonte, frontman for Massachusetts' ALL THAT REMAINS, has issued a year-end update focusing on upcoming headlining tour plans as well as the writing and recording process for the forthcoming follow up to 'The Fall of Ideals,' tentatively scheduled for a mid-2008 release.

"I'm writing stuff again," Labonte says. "It's awesome. I love playing guitar. I love Mesa Boogie cabs and Peavey 5150 heads. I love Mike's blonde Washburn, it sounds so ----ing awesome. There's just one problem: When you got a sweet sounding guitar and amp even dumb ----ty riffs sound heavy. Ha ha, I've written a couple of stinkers with an amp then play them in my room without an amp. I'm like, 'am I ----ing stupid? I liked that?' But I digress. ATR started because I missed playing guitar (for those that don't know). I love when I get the chance to sit down and play. I kinda suck still, cause until the last week or two I hadn't played since we finished [The Fall of Ideals], but I don't care 'cause the guitar sounds so good! - more on this story

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Juno Soundtrack
PR reports: Rhino will release the soundtrack for Juno, a comedy from Fox Searchlight Pictures directed by Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking) and written by Diablo Cody. Opening in select theaters December 5, the film's soundtrack mixes classic artists, such as The Kinks and Mott The Hoople, with indie faves Sonic Youth and Cat Power. The soundtrack will be available December 11 exclusively as a download from digital outlets; the physical album will be available for purchase in stores January 8.

An eclectic soundtrack, Juno opens with "All I Want Is You," by Barry Louis Polisar, renowned among youngsters for his silly ditties. The album also features Buddy Holly ("Dearest"), Cat Power ("Sea Of Love"), Mott The Hoople ("All The Young Dudes"), The Kinks ("A Well Respected Man"), Sonic Youth ("Superstar"), and a pair of songs by Belle & Sebastian ("Piazza, New York Catcher" and "Expectations"). - more on this story

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