Contraband, the debut album from Velvet Revolver, is set for a May 18 release, and the first single, "Slither," is expected to surface at radio in late March. The band — which features former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland backed by ex-Guns N' Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum as well as guitarist Dave Kushner — is expected to support the long-awaited disc with a tour. ...

Pharrell Williams already has a clothing line coming out — Billionaire Boys Club — but now he's changing gears with his extracurricular activities. He's become one of the sponsors of NASCAR driver Bill Lester's truck in this year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. For his money, Pharrell gets to emblazon the truck with a logo for N.E.R.D.'s upcoming album, Fly or Die. Nelly and Incubus have been involved in similar deals. ...

Beastie Boys fans can expect the group's sixth album to drop in early June. MCA, Ad-Rock and Mike D are finishing up the final mix on the still-untitled effort, which follows up 1998's Hello Nasty. ... New Found Glory are hoping their fourth album, Catalyst, causes a positive reaction amongst fans when it drops May 18. NFG's follow-up to 2002's Sticks and Stones will be prefaced by the title track, which is expected to surface in early April. A video will be shot in late March. ...

Artemis Records appears happy do what the major labels take great care to prevent: the label is making its entire roster available on Kazaa. But unlike the copyright-infringing fare also appearing on the file-sharing network, users wanting label-sanctioned downloads of Lisa Loeb, Jesse Malin or Sugarcult will have to pay for them. A label spokesperson said the move, which begins next month, is meant to educate Kazaa users that a legitimate alternative exists on an interface already familiar to them. ... Swedish pop band the Cardigans will release their fifth album, Long Gone Before Daylight, in North America on May 25. The disc came out internationally last year, but the domestic release will include two bonus tracks and a bonus DVD featuring two new videos and a concert performance. ...

Canadian prog-rock power trio Rush will launch their 30th anniversary tour on May 26 in Nashville. Dates run through August 22 in Toronto, after which the band will head to Europe. Rush last toured North America in 2002 after issuing Vapor Trails. The trip was documented on the triple-disc concert CD Rush in Rio. ... After she returns from Europe and Japan, Ani DiFranco will hit the road again in North America. The tour starts April 5 in Chico, California, and dates are scheduled through May 15 in New York. ...

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club had to cancel five dates on their tour of the U.K. and Ireland after guitarist Peter Hayes fell at a show in Brighton and broke his thumb. After playing in pain in a cast, Hayes flew home for surgery in order to prevent further injury. ... After four years, the popularity of the Jammys has branched out like a Gov't Mule guitar solo. The jam-band awards show, scheduled for March 16 in New York, has moved from the 3,000-capacity Roseland Ballroom to the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, a venue that hold 2,000 more people. A performers lineup has yet to be announced. ...

02.18.2004

In Los Angeles for the NBA All-Star weekend, Nelly said his still-untitled next album will drop in June. As for collaborators, "I'm top secret right now," he said. ... Sean Paul also refused to reveal details about his next release, but he said he'll be recording in Japan, Australia and Africa. ... Also in town for the game, DJ Clue said his The Professional 3 compilation is due in May. Eminem, Jay-Z, 50 Cent and G-Unit, Fabolous, and Method Man have all recorded tracks for the album. ...

Though Scott Weiland was due in court Wednesday (February 18) to address charges of driving under the influence of drugs, the singer had his representative ask for a continuance, which was granted, since he just changed lawyers. Weiland is now due in court on Monday, when paperwork for the change of counsel will have to be submitted. ... Flamboyant hard rockers the Darkness landed three trophies at the Brit Music Awards Tuesday night in London. The band took Best British Group, Best British Rock Act and Best British Album for their debut, Permission to Land. Other winners included Justin Timberlake for Best International Male Solo Artist and Best International Album, Beyoncé for Best International Female Solo Artist, White Stripes for Best International Group and 50 Cent for International Breakthrough Artist. ...

Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes were joined by a few special guests for their N.E.R.D. show in London on Tuesday following the Brit Awards. Justin Timberlake performed a lengthy version of his "Senorita" and sang lead vocals on N.E.R.D.'s "Provider" and "Run to the Sun." Later, Brit rap sensation Dizzee Rascal joined the group for a rendition of "Lapdance." ... Speaking of Pharrell, he's recorded an answering message on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Fans can visit www.peta2.com to download the message, which says, "Hi, this is Pharrell from the Neptunes and N.E.R.D., and the person you're leaving this message for wants you to check out peta2.com and be kind to animals — and so do we." ...

Full Blown Chaos, Sworn Enemy, 40 Below Summer, God Forbid and Death by Stereo have been named as openers for the fourth installment of the Jägermeister Music Tour. Slipknot, Fear Factory and Chimaira are headlining the trek, which kicks off March 30 in Orlando, Florida. ... Thursday and Poison the Well had a close call in Australia last week when their plane caught a gust of wind while landing and nearly crashed. Both bands are now back on domestic soil. Thursday will embark on a tour February 25, including some dates with AFI, while Poison the Well will hook up with Thrice on March 17. ...

A day before the U.S. recording industry filed another 531 lawsuits against copyright-infringing downloaders — bringing their tally to 1,445 complaints — a Canadian court adjourned until March 12 a case in which Canada's equivalent to the RIAA is trying to get five ISPs to surrender identities of 29 file-sharers. In December a U.S. appeals court determined the RIAA could not force U.S. ISPs to give up names before litigation is filed. ... If it seemed odd Nickelback were snubbed a bit by Canada's Juno Awards, it was. Organizers admitted this week that the Vancouver band was mistakenly left off the list of nominations for Album of the Year. The Long Road, Nickelback's fourth album, is also up for Rock Album of the Year, while the band and single "Someday" are up for three other honors. ...

Fans of the frat-house classic "Animal House" may notice a slightly different version of the 1978 flick's theme song when a 25th anniversary DVD is released August 26. MXPX's version of the theme song as well as their remake of the Isley Brothers' "Shout," performed in the film by Otis Day & the Knights, are among the bonus features. ... On March 15 Phantom Planet will kick off monthlong headlining tour that'll take them to the Coachella Festival in Indio, California, on May 1 before filling the opening slot on the Blink-182/No Doubt tour for a week beginning June 16 in Seattle. They'll be assuming the spot from Australian punks the Living End, who will be wrapping up a three-month Stateside trek that will also find them opening for the Vines and Jet in March and April. ...

Macy Gray, Shaggy and Lenny Kravitz are among the first artists announced for the 35th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, a two-weekend event taking place April 23 to May 5. Meanwhile, Wilco and Jurassic 5, among others, will play venues around town as part of the eighth annual Superfly During Jazzfest. ... The Posies are working on their first new studio album in six years, and the still-untitled follow-up to Success is due this summer. While recording, Posies principals John Auer and Ken Stringfellow continue to maintain their membership in legendary power-pop band Big Star, who are expected to begin recording a new album in March. ...

If the idea of buying a pair of Flea's boxer shorts online seems disgusting, take heart in knowing the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist only designed them, he didn't wear them. Know, too, that proceeds from sale of the skivvies, as well as T-shirts and greeting cards designed by Hilary Duff and Jerry Cantrell, will benefit Flea's Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a nonprofit organization that teaches music to children. ... Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the death of New York rapper Big L, who was shot to death in Harlem in 1999. Fellow D.I.T.C. members Lord Finesse, A.G. and O.C. will put their "L" up in his honor at a show Thursday at New York's S.O.B.'s club. ...

Lil' Flip is shooting the video for his current hit, "Game Over," with director Benny Boom (P. Diddy, Nelly) in Hollywood on Wednesday. The song is the first single from U Gotta Feel Me, due March 30. ... Ruben Studdard, Cee-Lo, Musiq, Lil Jon and Petey Pablo are among the artists taping performances this weekend at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for the next season of "Showtime at the Apollo." Eleven new episodes will begin airing March 13 on Showtime. ... A white supremacist group in Casper, Wyoming, has been passing out flyers protesting an upcoming appearance by Ludacris and Chingy on the Disturbing Tha Peace tour. The mayor of Casper denounced the group's opinion and tactics. ...