For The Record: Quick News On Britney, Usher, The Used, Fantasia, Nine Inch Nails, The Bravery & More

Spears launches global push for Curious; Usher eyeing Tom Cruise movie; Used protest fur.

Britney Spears displayed a new, long-haired brunette ‘do when she launched a global campaign for her perfume, Curious, on Friday. “I’ve always wanted to have a fragrance of my own, and now I’ve seen my dream come true,” she said at a press conference in New Orleans. “It’s really nice to share something this personal and special with my fans around the world.” The singer posed with fans from Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and Ireland, who won contests to come and meet Britney. … Meanwhile, Spears has prevailed in a lawsuit filed against her by a clothing company that was disputing her use of the phrase “In the Zone” for her album of that name. San Diego athletic-clothing company Lite Breeze Inc. claimed trademark infringement, since it used the phrase in association with its promotion of music and live sporting events, but the judge granted the singer’s request for a summary judgment and ruled in the favor of the defense. …

Usher‘s already got four movie deals under his belt, but he may soon have a fifth — if he manages to convince Tom Cruise to team up. “We’re going to make an action film together,” Usher told Us Weekly. The singer’s rep told MTV News that the two did meet up to discuss working together for an unnamed project, but cautioned that they’re just in discussions at this stage. … The Used sent a letter on Monday to Wet Seal, reminding the clothing chain of the living and dying conditions of rabbits bred for their pelts. “Young people today realize that fur is horrifically cruel,” the band wrote, “and they don’t want to support a store that supports the mistreatment of animals.” The PETA supporters are asking Wet Seal to stop carrying fur in both its stores and its catalog. …

Fantasia is returning to the “American Idol” stage for the first time since she won the crown last spring. The raspy singer will treat viewers of the April 6 show to her new single, “Baby Mama.” … Can’t wait to hear Nine Inch Nails‘ new album, With Teeth? Well, if you live in one of 13 metropolises across the U.S., you’re in luck. According to a post on NIN.com, beginning on March 26 in Los Angeles, fans will be able to attend special NIN-sponsored listening parties, where they will receive a “limited edition” gift. And if you preorder the album at one of the listening parties, you’ll also get a 7-inch vinyl single featuring Teeth’s first single, “The Hand That Feeds,” and “Home,” a nonalbum track. A full list of cities hosting the parties can be found on NIN.com. …

SXSW isn’t just for indie-rockers. Pop stars and celebrities were also seen making the rounds at the four-day Austin, Texas, festival. Jessica Simpson, the Distillers’ Brody Dalle and Har Mar Superstar were among the many catching Queens of the Stone Age and the Bravery at the DKNY party in an airport hangar. R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe went to the Ritz to check out slow-burn Brooklyn rockers Calla, and the diminutive Elijah Wood was at various shows, including Bloc Party, the Go! Team and Canadian chanteuse/Broken Social Scener Leslie Feist‘s daytime set that was almost hijacked by an abrupt weather shift. Gorillaz/Blur frontman Damon Albarn dropped by the Houston hip-hop showcase Wednesday night that included Jay-Z cohort Bun B and Devin the Dude. Erykah Badu and her enormous afro logged time backstage during M.I.A.‘s set at the Fader party, and Mick Jagger‘s ex Jerry Hall sang with Rachel Fuller at Crowne Plaza. …

Roxy Music will be appearing at June’s Isle of Wight Festival, according to BBC News. Morrissey, Supergrass, R.E.M. and Idlewild will also be performing over the three-day event. Reunited bandmembers Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzerana, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson are also working on new material and will record their first album since 1982′s Avalon. … British pop trio Saint Etienne are finishing up their latest album, Tales From Turnpike House, which will be released in the U.K. on June 6. The disc will feature 12 tracks, including “Side Streets,” “Teenage Winter” and “Lightning Strikes Twice,” and will include a guest appearance from 1970s British icon David Essex. Tales From Turnpike House will be the band’s first studio album since 2002′s Finisterre.

The popularity of Sparta and the Mars Volta has inspired Fearless Records to release a compilation of 17 At the Drive-In rarities, B-sides, and unreleased live cuts. Called This Station Is Non-Operational, the May 24 release will feature a cover of the Smiths rarity “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” as well as a rendition of Pink Floyd‘s “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk.” … According to Monster Magnet‘s Web site, guitarist Phil Caivano has taken leave of the band. Frontman Dave Wyndorf described the split as “amicable” in a posting to the site’s main page, and announced he’s be filling in for Caivano at least until recording of the band’s forthcoming new album is completed. He also said the band was in the process of auditioning for Caivano’s replacement. …

03.18.2005

Missy Elliott appeared on Ciara‘s album, and now the singer is returning the favor — by singing and rapping on Elliott’s upcoming LP. “The one thing nobody really knows is that before I was doing the singing, I was rapping,” Ciara said on Thursday. “I wasn’t in the studio or anything, but I used to sit on the porch and freestyle with the guys, my little cheesy raps.” Upon hearing about this, Elliott knew what she had to do — coax Ciara to rap for real. “Missy made me do it,” Ciara said. “It sounds weird right now, but I’m just doing a little bit. I hope it’s OK, but I trust her.” Their as-yet-untitled song together is potentially Missy’s first single, Ciara said. “It’s about music, how music makes you feel and makes you lose control. It’s uptempo, it’s dance, it’s crazy.” …

Lindsay Lohan was forced to halt filming on her latest movie after spraining her ankle Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The film does not have a title yet, and is being shot in New York. A Lohan rep told the paper that the teen queen sustained the injury while shooting a scene that required she hop from a taxi in stilettos. … Mariah Carey‘s not going to let “Glitter” bring her down — she’s hoping to bounce back with her next movie role, which just might be a part in an upcoming ensemble pic called “Ladies Night,” about a group of women who spend a night on the town discussing everything from careers to sex and love. The project’s being produced by “Monster’s Ball” producer Lee Daniels, whom Carey called “amazingly talented” and “very edgy.” “We’ll see what happens,” Carey said recently. “It’ll be great. I’m sure whatever he does is going to be special.” …

Irv and Chris Gotti appeared in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday (March 18) for a pretrial hearing in the Murder Inc. money-laundering case. Their lawyers began the process of trying to sever their case from that of Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff and the other defendants in the case who are charged with more severe crimes, such as murder. Chief Judge Edward Korman granted them the opportunity to make such an application, which will be heard at the next hearing. The Gottis are due back in court on May 13. … Meanwhile, everything’s coming up roses for Inc. princess Ashanti, who’s unveiling a flower-themed window at New York’s Macy’s Herald Square on Sunday to promote her role in the upcoming “Muppets’ Wizard of Oz,” airing in May on ABC. The department store’s Broadway windows will feature six scenes from the film recreated with thousands of live flowers. The re-telling of the L. Frank Baum classic also stars Queen Latifah, Quentin Tarantino, Kermit and Miss Piggy. …

While testimony was put on hold for the day, the judge in the Michael Jackson trial on Friday granted a special hearing — to take place March 28 — to determine whether the singer’s prior alleged sexual abuse is admissible, and if the boy at the center at the 1993 molestation case will be allowed to testify. Judge Rodney Melville said that he expects to rule that day, and Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon indicated that he may call witnesses on Jackson’s past on that Monday, which means the 1993 accuser could testify as soon as that day if the judge rules in the prosecution’s favor. The defense filed for a mistrial — which the judge denied — since the former housekeeper who testified this week named boys who’ve had extensive stays with Jackson over the years, and some of them are involved in this upcoming hearing. Melville also ruled that he would allow the prosecution to subpoena Jackson’s financial documents, but he’s limiting the scope and said that the prosecution can’t examine the information until the documents are first opened in court. …

Young Buck‘s court date Friday (March 18) in connection with the melee at last fall’s Vibe Awards was continued to April 18. A preliminary hearing will be scheduled then. … Killswitch Engage‘s Adam Dutkiewicz will not be taking the stage for the next four dates of the Taste of Chaos Tour, according to Roadrunner Records. The guitarist and producer “aggravated a prior injury” recently, sidelining him for at least a week. Fans in Omaha, Nebraska; Denver; Kansas City, Missouri; and St. Paul, Minnesota, will witness the band performing as a quartet. … Slipknot‘s Tuesday night show in Lowell, Massachusetts, went on without Clown (Shawn Crahan), who dropped off the band’s tour to return home due to an illness in the family, according to the band’s spokesperson. Crahan missed the group’s appearance on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” on March 1 for the same reason. He’s expected to rejoin the tour for Friday’s show in Hampton, Virginia. . …

Mike Doughty has recorded a duet with Dave Matthews called “Tremendous Brunettes” for the former Soul Coughing frontman’s upcoming solo album, Haughty Melodic, due May 3 on Matthews’ ATO Records. Semisonic singer Dan Wilson produced the album, which Doughty will promote with a U.S. tour kicking off May 4 in Washington, D.C., and wrapping May 26 in Denver. … Sometime between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Thursday, a trailer containing nearly every piece of musical gear belonging to rockers the Decemberists was stolen from outside a house in southeast Portland, Oregon. The white Wells Cargo trailer has a green “VT” (Vermont) sticker on the side door, a British flag sticker on the front and a “No on 36″ sticker on the left back door. Anyone with information is asked to report it to the Portland police. The band has been forced to postpone its date in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday night, but the tour in support of its just-released album, Picaresque, is otherwise proceeding as planned. …