For The Record: Quick News On Paris Hilton, Mos Def, Franz Ferdinand, Staind, Depeche Mode, Alkaline Trio & More

Paris has September court date; Mos Def supporting Katrina-relief effort; Franz bolster single with new songs.

Paris Hilton has been ordered to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court on September 18 at 9:30 a.m. for the first date of her trial against actress/model Zeta Graff, who filed a $10 million defamation suit against Hilton last year. Graff, who also happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Hilton’s former squeeze Paris Latsis, is suing the heiress for allegedly planting gossip about her in the tabloids, including one “Page Six” item in the New York Post that claimed Graff attacked Hilton at a club when she was with Latsis. Set for September 11 is a final status hearing during which the judge will discuss the case with both sets of attorneys and make any additional orders before the trial kicks off the following week. …

If you missed the deadline for thinkMTV’s Storm Corps, you may have another chance to spend your spring break helping those in the Gulf Coast region. Rapper/actor/activist Mos Def is one of the hip-hop leaders supporting Katrina on the Ground, an alternative spring-break initiative to lend a hand to the lives and homes devastated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Starting Sunday, students will make the trek to the Gulf’s hardest-hit areas of Mobile, Alabama; Biloxi, Mississippi; and New Orleans to help rebuild communities and provide legal assistance and financial advice. While the deadline has passed for the weeklong outing that starts Sunday, there is still time to apply for the remaining three weeks in March. Check out KatrinaOnTheGround.com for more information. …

Franz Ferdinand will issue a five-track “single” for “The Fallen” on March 27 in the U.K. — meaning staunch Franz fans in the U.S. will need to look for a copy in the imports section of their neighborhood record store. The single will feature the new tracks “Lauren Wells,” “Brown Onions,” “Jeremy Fraser” and the “Ruined by Justice” remix of “The Fallen.” … On the subject of overseas ventures, Staind will perform a series of live shows in Germany for U.S. military personnel returning from combat duty in the Persian Gulf. The first show is scheduled for Friday at the U.S. Army Garrison, Mannheim, followed by performances March 16 at the U.S. Army Garrison, Franconia; and March 17 at the U.S. Army Garrison, Baumholder. The band, on tour in Europe, will return to the States in mid-April for the Jägermeister Music Tour. …

Depeche Mode‘s “Suffer Well” (from last year’s Playing the Angel) has been translated into Simlish, the native language of virtual gaming community the Sims. The track can be heard on the “The Sims 2 Open for Business” game-expansion pack. … Stereolab have launched a brief U.S. tour that’ll keep them busy through the rest of this month. Hot Chip, Espers, and Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt of the Sea and Cake will open various legs of the trek. The band performs in San Francisco Thursday (March 2), and dates run through March 29 in San Diego. … Mogwai have kicked off a brief U.S. tour that hits Columbus, Ohio, Thursday. The jaunt will expire March 15 in Austin, Texas, where the band will perform as part of this year’s South by Southwest music conference. … Also hitting SxSW is Sia, who caused a smash with her song “Breathe Me” on the “Six Feet Under” season finale and soundtrack. The Aussie native will kick off a tour in Austin on March 18 in support of her recent album Colour the Small One, hitting Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and New York through April. … British rockers Gomez will play at SxSW as well, in anticipation of their next album, How We Operate. The band’s three singers will also play acoustic shows in Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York to hype up the new, Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters)-produced record, which comes out May 2. …

British rapper Mike Skinner, a.k.a. the Streets, has set an April 25 release date for his third album, The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living. The album has been described as an autobiographical account of Skinner’s last few years. … Rammstein already have three videos crafted for their new album Rosenrot, due March 28. While Jonas Akerlund (Blink-182, Madonna) directed the clip for the first single “Mann Gegen Mann,” the band also banked footage for the video for the title track and for “Benzin” (which was recently remixed by Beastie Boy Ad-Rock). The video for “Rosenrot” promises to be disturbing, involving burning at the stake and authentic scourging and flagellation, sans stuntmen (not surprisingly, it’s already been banned from daytime play in Germany). … Alkaline Trio will kick off their Occult Roots of Alkaline Trio: Early Songs for Eerie People Tour on March 30 in Sparks, Nevada. The band’s set list for the trek will include material from the Trio’s entire catalog, with some tracks being performed acoustically. Dates run through April 15 in Sayreville, New Jersey. Against Me! have been tapped as the tour openers. … Massive Attack‘s Collected, due April 4, will feature some previously unreleased material alongside the pioneering electronic-music group’s best tunes. A greatest-hits DVD will also be included, with Jonathan Glazer‘s just-completed clip for new single “Live With Me” as a bonus.

03.01.2006

Could it be three albums in less than two years for Beck? He released both Guero and Guerolito in 2005 and is now finishing up yet another album, according to a spokesperson for him. The album was recorded in a week with Nigel Godrich before Guero, and is said to be the bridge between that album and Sea Change. There’s no official release date for the currently untitled record. Meanwhile Beck continues to use his Web site to showcase new songs. Most recently he posted two covers from Nick Drake‘s Pink Moon: “Which Will” and “Parasite.” …

Common will be among the recipients of the Chicago chapter of the Recording Academy Honors Award, celebrating those who have “improved the environment for the creative community.” Chaka Khan, Les Paul and the late Lou Rawls will also be honored at the gala, to be held March 23 at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower. … On Friday Saved Latin will perform at the Knitting Factory in New York. Why is this news? Well, because Saved are actually Fall Out Boy‘s super-secret pseudonym. The double-platinum pop-punkers had been promising a spate of secret shows for months now, and the Friday gig at the tiny Knitting Factory is the first. Tickets are long-gone (sorry) and fetching upward of 60 bucks a pop on various online bidding sites. As far as the name? Well, a spokesperson for the band’s label, Island Records, claims it’s taken from the film “Rushmore” (at one point, Jason Schwartzman‘s Max Fischer declares “I saved Latin, what did you ever do?”). … Ciara‘s working on her second album, and according to producer Rodney Jerkins, she’s trying some new things. “I told her, ‘Let’s push the envelope the way Janet Jackson did back in the day,’ and she wasn’t afraid to try,” he said. … Joe Simpson has big things planned in 2006 for his new Papa Joe Records. “We’ve got Barefoot, that’s our first one,” he said recently. “We’ve got a girl named Valeria, who’s a beautiful Latina girl. We’ve got a guy named Chris James, who’s Craig David-ish, he’s got a great record he wrote, produced and did all himself. And then we’ve got a surprise coming. We won’t let you know who it is yet, but you’ll be familiar when you see it.” …

Garage rockers are starting a war — or at least a war of words. Underground garage rocker Billy Childish — who has released more than 50 records in his various bands (Pop Rivets, the Milkshakes, Thee Headcoats) — has called out the White Stripes in the latest issue of GQ magazine, saying of the Detroit duo: “I can’t listen to that stuff. They don’t have a good sound. … Jack’s half into the sound and music, but then he wants to be a pop star as well, so you’ve got a big problem.” Jack White shot back on the band’s Web site: “As for Billy Childish, Meg and I really feel sorry for you. It must be lonely sitting in all of that garage-rock bitterness, Billy.” … Pearl Jam have set a May 2 release date for their eighth studio album and first in four years. The self-titled release, produced by Adam Kasper, will be their first on J Records. The first single, “World Wide Suicide,” will be made available as a free, unrestricted download on PearlJam.com for two days beginning March 8. … While Scott Weiland has said he wants to make a concept album for Velvet Revolver‘s second release, bassist Duff McKagan was hesitant to confirm it. “I think a lot’s been said, but when it comes down to it we have to make the best record all of us collectively, and separately, ever made,” he said. “Now we know who each other are and who we are as a band. The first record was really just us coming together and being straight in the studio, but now it’s gonna be deeper and bigger and all that. Concept record? I don’t know, but it’s gonna be killer.” …

Anthony Hamilton plans to return to his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to shoot the video for his next single, “Ain’t Nobody Worryin’.” “Some people compare it to Marvin Gaye ‘What’s Going On,’ ” he said. “It talks about the political state of the world right now and the spiritual state of the world, and I think it’s necessary. I like to just remind people like, ‘Hey, don’t forget to pray and don’t forget to reach out and make sure somebody else is OK.’ ” … Natasha Bedingfield is still promoting her 2004 record Unwritten in the States (the album came out here in 2005), but the New Zealand pop star is taking any free time to work on the follow-up. “I’ve been touring for the last six months in America and I’m kind of due just to write,” she said recently. “It makes me the happiest girl in the world.” … Janet Jackson is expected to re-emerge sometime in 2006, and according to the co-producer of her new album, fans can expect the singer to return to her Control roots. “We’re celebrating 20 years since the Control album, so it would be crazy not to at least acknowledge that a little bit,” Jimmy Jam said. “So we’re digging out all the old sounds that we haven’t used in years and she sounds fantastic. It’s a record for the hardcore Janet fans: It’s very danceable, very upbeat, very happy.” … Russian-born, Bronx-bred singer/songwriter Regina Spektor will release her second major-label effort, Begin to Hope, June 13. Produced in New York with David Kahne (Tony Bennett, the Strokes), Hope is the follow-up to 2004′s critically lauded Soviet Kitsch.

A second show has been added to Rufus Wainwright‘s upcoming stint at Carnegie Hall in New York, during which the crooner will perform the 1961 Judy Garland live album Judy at Carnegie Hall in its entirety. Fans now have a chance to hear Rufus sing “Over the Rainbow” on both June 14 and June 15. No word yet on whether Wainwright plans to re-enact Judy’s banter with the audience, but judging from his previous charismatic live appearances, it’d probably be a safe bet. The online-only presale for both dates begins Thursday at CarnegieHall.org. … Helmet have reunited with the producer of their first two albums, Wharton Tiers, to helm their next record, due in early summer before the band heads out on the Warped Tour. “Wharton was my only choice to co-produce this project with me,” singer Page Hamilton said in a statement. “I want to get back to my roots with this release, and what’s really cool is that we are actually using the same tape machine that we recorded our first two albums with.” … The Essential Judas Priest, a two-CD retrospective chronicling the career of Rob Halford‘s band of British heavy-metal heroes, will drop April 4. The collection ranges from 1976′s Sad Wings of Destiny through 2005′s reunion record, Angel of Retribution. Look for the discs to feature the Priest classics “Breaking the Law,” “Hell Bent for Leather,” “Ram It Down,” “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’,” “Turbo Lover” and “The Ripper.” … Poison are celebrating their decades-long career with The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock, also out April 4. The collection features 18 of the most popular Poison specimens, including “Talk Dirty to Me,” “Nothin’ but a Good Time,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Something to Believe In” and “Unskinny Bop.” The LP will include one fresh cut: a cover of Grand Funk Railroad‘s “We’re an American Band.” …