Billboard Bits: Joan Osborne, The Alarm MMVI, Augustana

News on Joan Osborne, The Alarm MMVI, Augustana

Joan Osborne has plans to record a country album later this spring that is projected to surface in January 2007. The disc will be the singer/songwriter's first under a new deal with Vanguard.

To warm up for the recording, Osborne has scheduled a pair of shows next week at New York's Coda (April 18) and Brooklyn's Southpaw (April 19). She is expected to preview some of the material she intends to record in Nashville with producer Steve Buckingham, along with her older songs and some covers.

Best remembered for her 1995 hit "One of Us," from her Blue Gorilla/Mercury album "Relish," Osborne last year released the album "Christmas Means Love" exclusively through Barnes & Noble stores. Her last non-holiday studio set was 2002's "How Sweet It Is" (Compendia).

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Originally expected May 30, the Alarm MMVI's new studio album, "Under Attack," will be released June 13 in the United States via Eleven Thirty Records/Redeye. The Mike Peters-led band celebrated the upcoming release with a pair of performances last month during the South By Southwest Music & Media Festival in Austin, Texas.

The disc is being delayed to accommodate Peters' final round of chemotherapy treatments in his fight against leukemia. He happily credits "all that Aquanet I used in the '80s" for the full head of hair he's been able to maintain through the therapy. "You can't ask for more than that."

Peters hopes to launch a U.S. later this year in support of the new disc, which was released earlier this year in the United Kingdom via Liberty/EMI. EMI last week released "The Best of the Alarm," a 21-track set that includes "Superchannel," which reached the top 25 on the U.K. singles chart.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Rock act Augustana has been tapped to support Snow Patrol's spring North American tour. The trek begins May 23 in Denver and will run through June 19 in Los Angeles. Beforehand, Augustana will play headlining dates from April 30 in Pittsburgh through May 18 in Omaha, Neb.

The group is out on the road in support of its Epic debut, "All the Stars and Boulevards," which reached No. 20 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. A video for new single "Boston" is in rotation at mtvU.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.