HOLLYWOOD Liz Phair has enlisted singer/songwriter Michael Penn to produce several songs for her upcoming fourth album.
Phair, a Chicago native, recently relocated to Los Angeles, where she is about halfway through recording the as-yet-untitled project.
"Michael's sound is something that I have never really heard before," Phair said backstage at Saturday's Breathe breast cancer benefit concert, where she performed three tunes with Third Eye Blind (see "Third Eye Blind, Lil' Kim, Nikka Costa, Sugar Ray Do Breathe For Breast Cancer"). "He places me in it so beautifully. He'll do things like get an industrial sound and replace it for a snare drum. It's one of the most intense-sounding things I've ever done."
Penn, who has previously done production work for his wife, Aimee Mann, as well as for the Wallflowers, is working with Phair at a studio in the famous Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, fine-tuning a number of songs she wrote recently with songwriter Gary Clark.
Singer/songwriter Pete Yorn has also produced some material for Phair's follow-up to 1998's Whitechocolatespaceegg (see "Liz Phair To Wrap Up Fourth Album Soon").
Once considered the poster girl for indie rock, Phair came to prominence in 1993 with the release of Exile in Guyville, a song-for-song response to the Rolling Stones' classic Exile on Main Street. Her second album, Whip-Smart, featured the hit "Supernova."
Phair, whose stage fright kept her from touring for several years early in her career, said she is scheduled to hit the road next summer. "So the record should be coming out by then," she said.
Her spokesperson at Capitol said there is no release date yet for the album.