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In general, the majors' relentless heat-seeking behavior appears undimmed by the current economic climate. The only obvious change is that the deal figures are slightly (and we mean slightly) smaller-an insufficient change, one would think, considering that the industry is still in the TYPEWRITER business.

WHEELS SPECIAL:
CHASING THE HEAT, PART 1,853

Yellowcard, Keane, Vaux, Brand New Bring Out the Weasels
By Rodel Delfin

The West Coast was definitely the spot last week for big buzz-band showcases and tour stops. However, some deal-pursuing managers, attorneys and even weasels decry many A&R departments' overwhelming focus on only hotly pursued, flavor-of-the-month acts to justify signings. A few A&R peeps have maintained a respectable number of artist-development deals, to be sure. But in general, the majors' relentless heat-seeking behavior appears undimmed by the current economic climate. The only obvious change is that the deal figures are slightly (and we mean slightly) smaller-an insufficient change, one would think, considering that the industry is still in the TYPEWRITER business.

Meanwhile, industry insiders are chiming once again that the nextbigthing signing rarely turns out to be the-nextbigthing. So, before we give the report on who's chasing what, we present one noteworthy signed act that's likely to spur a frenzied publishing derby: Capitol signing Yellowcard. The five-piece ensemble, which features a fiddle player, rocked the Roxy on Monday (7/14) before a packed crowd of kids, label brass and a handful of publishers. Kudos to A&R hitters Ron Laffitte and Louie Bandak for inking the band early without breaking the bank-and for doing over a year of good ol' artist development. Yellowcard's Capitol debut streets on July 22. Stay tuned for the pub heat.

The week of hot shows started with the hugely buzzin' Keane, who descended on the Viper Room one day after their New York showcase for a bevy of East Coast weasels. The three-piece U.K. ensemble performed for a packed house of KCRW listeners and industry ballers big and small. Weasels in attendance included Warner Bros.' Tom Whalley and Perry Watts-Russell, Capitol's Laffitte, Interscope's Mark Williams, Epic's Pete Giberga, Columbia's Tim Devine and Marshall Altman, Maverick's Berko, Atlantic's Tom Storms, DreamWorks' Michael Ostin and Luke Wood, RCA's Brian Malouf, Arista's Victor Murgatroyd and Geffen's Eric Hunter and Thom Panunzio. Stay tuned as several U.S. labels jockey to shut this U.K. derby down.

The Warped Tour also rocked through Southern California this week, bringing weasels to see a couple buzz bands. Looks like the Bunny is poised to close one nutty derby soon. And the Michael Barber-repped Vaux had several label peeps turning out to their Warped set.

The week ended with the Tom Gates/Ari Martin/Peter Lewit-repped Brand New's set at the packed Troubadour last Saturday. Rumor has it one West Coast label maintains its front-runner position.
AN ASTRONOMICAL
HITS LIST
Things are looking up. (5/13a)
IS WEATHERLY RETURNING TO KROQ?
Bingenheimer won't be part of the deal, sources say. (5/13a)
SONG REVENUE:
SPRING FEVER
A cash clash of the titans (5/13a)
SPOTIFY WAVES THE ITALIANO FLAG
He does a touching karaoke rendition of "Volare." (5/13a)
SPIRIT OF LIFE CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF (UPDATE)
Choice of lox, whitefish or baked salmon (5/13a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
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