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The undisputed leader of the pack lately is Epic. The label is on fire, having launched several new artists onto the album chart this year, including Franz Ferdinand, Gretchen Wilson, Los Lonely Boys and Modest Mouse.
WHEELS & DEALS: SIGNING DERBIES MARK END OF SUMMER
The Bravery, Taking Back Sunday, Death Cab for Cutie, Emily Hudson Feel the Heat From A&R Noses Pressed Against the Glass
by Rodel Delfin

CLOSING OUT THE SUMMER OF ’04: How nice it is for several signing derbies to end with the summer season, just as the kids head back to school. The recent Island Def Jam/Polydor UK signing of the highly courted The Bravery is followed by Taking Back Sunday reportedly coming to agreement with Warner Bros., which obviously includes a payout to Victory Records. However, the latter deal is not yet finalized, and with so many twists and turns involved in this story over the past year, don’t believe this one’s over until the contracts are signed. And, speaking of The Bravery, talkers talking that the contest for the band’s publishing is starting to get nutty. Stay tuned... Meanwhile, indie rock darlings Death Cab For Cutie are said to have opted to go steady with Atlantic after hearing from many suitors. And though the ink isn’t dry on this one yet either, the Jordan Kurland-managed/Gary Gilbert-repped band did engage in a last minute whirlwind of meetings with three other labels before making their decision... Are you on the Jason Bernard-managed/Peter Lewit-repped Emily Hudson? And yes, in case you’re asking, she is Kate’s sister. The songstress has reportedly been meeting with several labels and publishers lately, as her "Mr. Sinner" has been getting airplay on L.A.’s Indie 103.1. We’ll keep you posted on this one... There’s buzz building on the Scott Bradford-repped Over It. The band’s album, recorded by up-and-coming producer Mike Greene, has been perking up weasels’ ears, with one label suitor reportedly already pulling out the checkbook. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for Greene, who has produced tracks for The Matches, Yellowcard and Rufio. He’s working on Rufio’s next album now... Female groove-pop crooner Sara Bareilles has extended her residency at L.A.’s tiny Hotel Café through October (dates are 10/13, 10/20 & 10/27). We’ve been following her for a while and we give her a big thumbs up. So check her out before your competition signs her... Meanwhile, weasels were in abundance at The Futureheads show at Spaceland this week. We heard the show was crazy. What’s the story?... NEW ARTIST SCORECARD: In the midst of label mergers and ongoing executive shuffling, lots of chatter going on as to which labels are breaking the most new acts. The undisputed leader of the pack lately is Epic. The label is on fire, having launched several new artists onto the album chart this year, including Franz Ferdinand, Gretchen Wilson, Los Lonely Boys and Modest Mouse. And with the aforementioned acts maintaining their sales around or just below the Top 50, they’re set up nicely to enter the fourth quarter dash for the cash... Finally, Jon Nelson lands at Sony/ATV Music, where he’ll scout new talent and get to spit-shine Danny Strick’s dance shoes. Nelson will be based out of the pubco’s L.A. office... BUZZIN’: Wolfmother, Iceland Airwaves and Kevin Law... Hit me up: brotherxx@earthlink.net

BUZZ/GIGS:

THE HEAD SET

Thurs., Sept. 23 at the Viper Room in L.A. with the Vacation.

MACROSICK
Thurs., Sept. 30 at S.I.R.-Downtown in N.Y. label showcase. Call Joe Berman for details.

SEXY MAGAZINES 
Fri., Oct. 8 at the Roxy in L.A. MVO-repped band opening for Mooney Suzuki.

KACEY, LUKE ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO GRAMMY NOMS
The CMA Awards effect. (11/16a)
AS VIVENDI PREPS FOR UMG SALE, LIBERTY’S ALL EARS
Look for a Valentine's Day sale. (11/16a)
REVENUE CHART: ARIANA, METRO,
“GALILEO, GALILEO”
Classic rock pulling in the bucks—it's been a while. (11/16a)
A CMA GALLERY
Nashville gets dressed up (11/15a)
RAINMAKERS: MYSTERY GUEST, PLEASE SIGN IN
What do we get if we guess right? (11/9a)
GRAMMY NOMINEES
Collect 'em all!
MMA FOR DUMMIES
Not Mixed Martial Arts; the Music Modernization Act, dummy.
IS IT COLD IN HERE?
...or are our bosses from outer space?
THE KIDS
They're leaning on the button.
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