For The Record: Quick News On John Mayer, Franz Ferdinand, Ciara, Michelle Branch, Sean Paul & More

Mayer needs a collaborator; Franz release final track list; Branch has a baby.

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter John Mayer’s got some leftover lyrics that didn’t make the cut for his forthcoming album, Continuum, and he’d like his fans to help put those words to good use. Mayer’s column in September’s Esquire provides those surplus lyrics, along with a challenge — write an entire song around them. Those interested in accepting Mayer’s offer can send a CD with their song to the magazine’s music department; the best of the best will be posted on Esquire’s Web site. The winner of the contest will receive a Fender John Mayer Signature Stratocaster, and something you can’t put a price on — the freedom to “tell people we wrote a song together,” Mayer writes in his column. …

The final track list has been revealed for Franz Ferdinand’s forthcoming LP, You Could Have It So Much Better … With Franz Ferdinand. The disc hits stores October 4 and features, in order, the tracks “The Fallen,” “Do You Want To,” “This Boy,” “Walk Away,” “Evil and a Heathen,” “You’re the Reason I’m Leaving,” “Eleanor Put Your Boots On,” “Well That Was Easy,” “What You Meant,” “I’m Your Villain,” “You Could Have It So Much Better,” “Fade Together” and “Outsiders.” The foot-stompin’, Pixies-esque track “Turn It On,” which early on the band’s label considered a strong second-single contender, is missing from the disc. … Congratulations to new mama Michelle Branch. The 22-year-old singer/songwriter and bass-player hubby Teddy Landau welcomed their first child, 7-pound, 12-ounce daughter Owen, into the world on Wednesday, her publicist said. Mother and child are now resting comfortably at a Los Angeles hospital. …

Stevie Wonder, Ciara, Amerie, John Legend, Brian McKnight and Toni Braxton are among the acts scheduled to appear at the 10th annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards on September 17 in Los Angeles. Aretha Franklin, who will perform a duet with Wonder, will receive the Lena Horne Award for Outstanding Career Achievements. … Sean Paul has set a September 27 release date for the follow-up to his 2002 breakthrough, Dutty Rock. The album will be titled The Trinity.

Sleater-Kinney have lined up two months’ worth of fall dates in support of their new album, The Woods, kicking off with a string of shows opening for Pearl Jam on their mostly Canadian tour from September 11 through October 1. Beginning on October 3 with a show in Philadelphia, Sleater-Kinney will headline a month of gigs with support from the Ponys. The swing will also include a stop on Saturday with the White Stripes in George, Washington, and a slot on the Arthurfest show in Los Angeles on September 4. … Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum fractured his hand recently, in what the band’s label characterized as a “boating accident.” As a result, he’ll be unable to perform with the group on the first few dates of its forthcoming headlining tour, which resumes on August 11 in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Velvet Revolver have seven shows lined up before they hop aboard the Ozzfest 2005 train on August 23 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sorum, undergoing physical therapy at the moment, will be back with the band on that first Ozzfest date. The band will be hiring a drummer to fill in for Sorum in the interim, but a decision on just who that will be has yet to be made. …

On the heels of last year’s reunion tour, the Pixies are hoping to keep the gravy train rolling with the release of “Pixies Sell Out,” a DVD capturing the best moments from seven of those shows. One date — a July 3, 2004, gig in Belfort, France — is presented in its entirety and features 27 Pixies classics, like “Here Comes Your Man,” “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Where Is My Mind.” Bonus material on the DVD includes additional performances from last year’s Coachella Festival in California, New Orleans’ Voodoo Music Experience, Scotland’s T in the Park Festival and Fuji Rock in Japan. “Pixies Sell Out” is due in stores on October 4. …

The members of Broken Social Scene have had a change of heart — the band’s upcoming disc, originally called Windsurfing Nation, will now be self-titled. The 14-track album, due October 4, contains new songs “Finish Your Collapse and Stay for Breakfast,” “Swimmers,” “Hotel,” “Banwitch” and the former title track, which features rapper K-Os. Dears frontman Murray Lightburn also makes an appearance on the LP. …

08.03.2005

Legendary producer/mogul Quincy Jones is composing the score for 50 Cent’s debut flick, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” Jones’ publicist said Wednesday (August 3). It will be his first film score since 1985’s “The Color Purple,” which earned him two Oscar nominations. Jones will be working on the project with composers Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer. …

Christina Aguilera is blocking her ears for a new fall campaign for YouthAIDS, which has a theme of “Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil.” Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, Cindy Crawford, Penélope Cruz, LL Cool J, Elijah Wood and Josh Lucas also cover their mouths and ears for the black-and-white campaign, which hopes to raise awareness and protect youth from HIV/AIDS. Aguilera’s poster reads, “Hear no evil? 3 million people died of AIDS last year. When truth spreads, AIDS won’t.” … Linkin Park DJ Joseph Hahn directed a short in Los Angeles over the weekend called “The Seed.” Hahn plans to enter the movie, about a homeless veteran losing his mind on the banks of the L.A. River, in the Sundance Film Festival. …

Joe Simpson is tired of having to deny rumors and reports that his daughter Jessica and her husband, Nick Lachey, are getting divorced, so much so that he’s hired “the most powerful lawyer in the city” to take legal action against media outlets that run false reports, he told “Access Hollywood” Tuesday. “You can only say, ’No, that’s not true’ so often and then everybody thinks you are lying. … We don’t have any responsibility in the media anymore. You can say whatever the hell you want to and it’s not right.” Some of the other stories he said were false were reports that he had Botox injections and Jessica had plastic surgery. “Who believes that?” he said. “I mean, they just print it because Jessica sells magazines, Ashlee sells magazines.” … Speaking of famous sibs, on-the-rise singer Natasha Bedingfield considers her more famous brother, Daniel, “a hard act for anybody to follow,” she told MTV Europe, and being a “typical younger sister,” she wants to reach his level — but on her own terms. “He is an amazing person and very gifted,” she said, “but I have to make my own way. The proof is in the pudding, really. It’s like, listen to the music, make your own judgment. I think that is what’s been so exciting is that people are enjoying the music for the music, and it’s not about being somebody’s sister.” …

Ryan Cabrera, Tyler Hilton, the Click Five, Kaci Brown and B5 are among the artists taking turns appearing in a free mall tour, launching Friday in Jersey City, New Jersey. The 25-date Simon DTour Live concludes October 23 in Austin, Texas. … Cabrera, meanwhile, will release his second album, You Stand Watching, on September 20. The singer produced most of the album himself, including lead single “Shine On.” …

Melissa Etheridge is now cancer-free. “I stand before you a totally healthy person,” the singer, who is growing back her hair, told “Extra” in an interview that will air Wednesday. She credits her partner, Tammy Lynn Michaels, with helping her beat breast cancer. “At the end of the whole thing, when it was over, I came home to a bouquet that said, ’In sickness and in health,’ and she means it,” Etheridge said. “And the love and support of someone like that is worth all the money in the world.” Meanwhile, Etheridge’s greatest-hits album, The Road Less Traveled, due October 18, will also include four new songs including one called “This Is Not Goodbye” and a cover of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” … John Mayer, Carlos Santana and Keith Richards are among the guests on blues legend Buddy Guy’s new album, Bring ’Em In. Due September 20, the LP features reworkings of favorites by Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding and others. …

Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, the Flaming Lips, the Shins, Primus, Widespread Panic, Digable Planets and Ryan Adams are among the performers set to hit Sin City for the Vegoose music festival on October 29 and 30. Tickets for the event, being held at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, run $128.50 a pop for a two-day pass, and will go on sale August 13 via the event’s official Web site, vegoose.com. … Taking time off from their day jobs as Bam Margera’s bearded yes-man and portly punching bag, Ryan Dunn and Don Vito are planning on launching their very own rock tour. Dubbed Dunn and Don Vito’s Rock Night, the tour kicks off Wednesday in Austin, Texas, and wraps September 11 in Revere, Massachusetts, and promises to live up to its billing as “the stupidest rock tour of the year” by incorporating live music with stunts by Dunn and Vito. The actual music comes courtesy of rock acts Open Hand and Fight Paris. …

Supergrass recorded their new album, Road to Rouen, due September 27, in a barn-turned-barebones-recording-studio. Instead of their trademark buzzsaw pop, Rouen is said to be all over the place, using zithers, ukuleles, brass, strings and a model of drum machine used by Sly & the Family Stone. “We’ve had some trying times over the last couple of years,” singer Gaz Coombes said, “and it changes the way you do things. It changed the way I wrote songs.” Tracks on the album include “Tales of Endurance (Parts 4, 5 & 6),” “Sad Girl,” “Coffee in the Pot,” “Kick in the Teeth” and “Low C.” The band plans to embark on an international acoustic tour, and then do a U.S. tour early next year. … New York’s Central Park will play host to what’s being touted as “America’s largest dance music event” on September 16. ULTRA.NY, which will coincide with this year’s CMJ Music Marathon, will bring more than five hours of electronica to the Park’s Rumsey Playfield, compliments of the Chemical Brothers, Paul Oakenfold, Timo Maas, Danny Tenaglia and others. …