THE 'PHANTOM' MENACE!

And it's not out till July...

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS' forthcoming new album 'PHANTOM POWER' is already on the Internet - three months before its official release in July.

The Welsh band's sixth studio album, which is set for release on July 14, was leaked by a pirate group called Escape and placed on file-sharing networks over the Easter weekend.

A spokesperson for the Super Furry Animals, who have endorsed file-sharing in the past, told the BBC: "I suppose it was going to be inevitable, but this is earlier than we expected."

However, Gary Farrow of Sony Music said illegal downloaders haven't acquired the finished mix of the album.

He stated: "We're not particularly happy about it and it's not the final copy. Changes have been made and there will be loads of bonus things on the CD that will not be available on the net, that's for sure."

Radioheadrecently protested against illegal file-sharing after their forthcoming album 'Hail to the Thief' was leaked onto the Internet, and pop queen Madonna took the step of placing decoy copies of new tracks on her official website.

Super Furry Animals have been confirmed to play at the V Festival in Chelmsford and Stafford on August 16-17, and are rumoured to be headlining the Other Stage at the Glastonbury Festival on June 28.

To buy V tickets, click here or call the NME Ticketline on 0870 1 663 663..

The band’s first major show of the year, however, takes place in Bethesda, Gwynedd, north Wales, on June 21. The concert, subject to license, will occur in a 5,000 capacity tent, to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great Bethesda Quarry Strike, which took place from 1900-03 and became Britain's longest ever strike. The all-day event is part of a yearlong commemorative festival in Bethesda. Cerys Matthews is already confirmed to support.

To buy tickets, click here or call the NME Ticketline on 0870 1 663 663.

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