Billboard Bits: Van Morrison, Apple, Langhorne Slim
Van Morrison will release latest collection of new tunes on March 11 via Lost Highway. "Keep It Simple" is the veteran songwriter's follow-up to 2006's "Pay the Devil" and comes on the heels of threeVan Morrison will release latest collection of new tunes on March 11 via Lost Highway. "Keep It Simple" is the veteran songwriter's follow-up to 2006's "Pay the Devil" and comes on the heels of three hits compilations released within the last year.
Produced by Morrison, "Keep It Simple" is a signature mix of blues, folk and jazz and includes the tracks "Entrainment," "Soul," "Song of Home" and "How Can a Poor Boy."
The album marks Morrison's second release for the Universal imprint and is nearly his 40th studio album release. His last collection, "Still on Top - Greatest Hits" peaked at No. 48 nine weeks ago.
-- Andre Paine, London
As expected, Apple introduced a movie rental service for iTunes at the annual MacWorld confab in San Francisco, part of a broader upgrade to the Apple TV device that also has implications on how iTunes buyers can access music.
In addition to the new movie rental system, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a new version of Apple TV -- called Apple TV Take 2 -- that lets users buy or rent movies, as well as purchase music, directly from iTunes without requiring a connection to the computer. Any content purchased from the new Apple TV can later sync back to a home computer for long-term storage.
Apple has deals with Touchstone Pictures, MGM, Miramax, Lions Gate, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal and Sony Pictures for the movie rental service, which goes live today. The company expects more than 1,000 titles will be available by February.
Older movies will cost $3, new movies $4. New releases will become available 30 days after their DVD release date. All rented movies must be viewed within 30 days, and once started must be completed within 24 hours.
-- Antony Bruno, Denver
Former V2 artist Langhorne Slim has signed with Kemado Records and will be releasing a new, self-titled album on April 29. The effort was produced by the band's drummer Malachi DeLorenzo and Sam Kassirer, producer/keyboardist for roots rocker Josh Ritter. Engineer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse) also leant a hand to producing the track "Sometimes."
The Brooklyn songwriter, who infuses blues, bluegrass and folk into his brand of rock, released his first EP "Electric Love Letter" and debut album "When the Sun's Gone Down" via Narnack. He released the EP "Engine" in 2006 on V2 before that label folded.
He most recently toured with the Avett Brothers and is planning an all-ages national tour that kicks off Thursday (Jan. 17) in Centralia, Wash. Slim is also scheduled to perform at the South By Southwest music festival in March.
-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.