Billboard Bits: Van Morrison, Atmosphere, MC Hammer
More than two-dozen of Van Morrison's albums are about to get the reissue treatment via Polydor/Universal, in conjunction with Exile Productions.More than two-dozen of Van Morrison's albums are about to get the reissue treatment via Polydor/Universal, in conjunction with Exile Productions. Starting with 1971's "Tupelo Honey" through 2002's "Down the Road," 29 Morrison releases will appear in the coming months, each containing previously unreleased bonus material.
"Tupelo Honey," the 1974 live album "It's Too Late to Stop Now," 1978's "Wavelength," 1985's "A Sense of Wonder," 1989's "Avalon Sunset" and 1999's "Back on Top" will be the first to hit shelves on Jan. 29. Three more, to-be-determined dates will herald the remaining titles. The bonus material includes alternate, live and re-arranged takes of songs created during each album's time period.
Morrison recently released "Still on Top -- The Greatest Hits" in November; that effort peaked at No. 48 on The Billboard 200. His last studio effort was 2006's "Pay the Devil," released via Lost Highway.
-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.
Prolific Minneapolis hip-hop duo Atmosphere, whose new album is due this spring and who spent 2007 releasing EPs of extra material under the "Sad Clown" banner, have released a 13-track album for free download on their official Web site. "Strictly Leakage" includes new tracks such as "YGM," "You Played Yourself" and "Full Moon."
Rapper Slug writes on the site that that the album is a "party favor" released "as a way to thank all of our supporters. It's great for first dates, first dates, crappy house parties, or to play in the background while you Google yourself again." The Ant-produced record features guest turns by Brother Ali, Stage One and DJ Plain Ol' Bill.
Atmosphere's latest five-track EP, "Sad Clown Bad Winter No. 11," was released on Dec. 18; it follows "Sad Clown Bad Fall No. 10," which came out Oct. 9. The duo's new full-length, "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold" is due April 22 on Rhymesayers.
-- Jeff Vrabel, Savannah, Ga.
MC Hammer is hoping to relive his '90s dance success online through his involvement with startup site DanceJam.com. The former rap star is co-founder and chief strategy officer of the Silicon Valley-based company. DanceJam aims to be a YouTube-like, user generated video site that focused on videos of people dancing.
It will feature competitions between individual members judged by viewers and dance instructions and demonstrations. The site is expected to go live later this month.
-- Antony Bruno, Denver