Reclusive pop star Michael Jackson has popped up as a guest artist on New York rapper Tempamental's "No Friend of Mine," alongside the Fugees' Pras Michel.

Reclusive pop star Michael Jackson has popped up as a guest artist on New York rapper Tempamental's "No Friend of Mine," alongside the Fugees' Pras Michel. Details about the track, which is streaming on Tempamental's MySpace.com site, are scant; it is unknown when Jackson's vocals were recorded or how he came to participate on the song.

Jackson, who is back living in the United States after stints in Bahrain, France and Ireland, is at work on his first new album since 2001's "Invincible" with the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am and Akon, among others.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.







Punk outfit the Explosion has parted ways with Virgin Records, which released its most recent studio album, 2004's "Black Tape." The group has completed a new project, "Bury Me Standing," but is now "in the process of finding a label that may put it out," according to a post on its MySpace.com site.

"To some that may be bad news, but to others (who know about the perils of major labels) know that it is not such a bad thing," the band wrote. The tracks from the new album, "Image of a Son," "NYCD" and "All the Best," can be sampled on the MySpace site.

The Explosion rose to underground acclaim thanks to its 2000 Jade Tree debut, "Flash Flash Flash." But "Black Tape" did not appreciably broaden the group's audience and has sold just 25,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.







Producer/artist Butch Walker will embark on a spring tour in support of his latest Epic album, "The Rise & Fall of Butch Walker and the Lets Go Out Tonites." The itinerary begins March 22 in Raleigh, N.C., and runs through April 20 in Atlanta.

Of late, Walker has been busy behind the boards with Hot Hot Heat, the Academy Is..., Avril Lavigne the Von Bondies, Ben Lee and the Honorary Title.

Here are Butch Walker's tour dates:

March 22: Raleigh, N.C. (Lincoln Theatre)
March 24: Norfolk, Va. (NorVa)
March 25: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
March 27: Baltimore (Sonar)
March 28: Boston (Paradise Rock Club)
March 30: Philadelphia (TLA)
March 31: Pittsburgh (Mr. Small's)
April 3: New York (Irving Plaza)
April 5: Montreal (Cabaret)
April 6: Toronto (Horseshoe)
April 7: Grand Rapids, Mich. (Intersection)
April 8: Detroit (St. Andrews Hall)
April 10: Chicago (House of Blues)
April 11: Cleveland (House of Blues)
April 13: Columbus, Ohio (Newport Music Hall)
April 14: Madison, Wis. (Annex)
April 15: Minneapolis (Fine Line)
April 20: Atlanta (Tabernacle)


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.