News on The Strokes, AFI, Collective Soul

Presently in the midst of a string of secret club shows around the world, the Strokes have announced a January tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The month-long trek will begin Jan. 19 in Belfast and wrap with a Feb. 17-18 stand at London's Hammersmith Apollo.

Tonight (Nov. 29), the group is in London to play at ULU; the show will be cybercast live by BBC Radio 1. The Strokes will also play secret shows next month in Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin and Madrid, with a handful of North American dates being eyed for January.

The group's third album, "First Impressions of Earth," is due Jan. 3 via RCA. Fans who pre-order it through the Strokes' Web site will receive a 7-inch vinyl single for "Juicebox," which is at a new peak of No. 11 this week on Billboard's Modern Rock chart.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Rock act AFI has pulled out of its planned appearances early next year as part of the Big Day Out festival tour of Australia and New Zealand. "We thought we were going to be finished with the album by then but we ended up doing a new song and so we couldn't make it," group member Jade Puget writes on the AFI blog. "We will be going to Australia on our next headlining tour though."

The as-yet-untitled set will be the follow-up to 2003's "Sing the Sorrow," which has sold 1.1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

No replacement has yet been announced for the tour, which, as previously reported, will feature the White Stripes, Iggy & the Stooges, Franz Ferdinand, Mars Volta, Common and Kings Of Leon, plus Australian bands the Living End, Magic Dirt and new Capitol signing End Of Fashion.

-- Christie Eliezer, Sydney

Rock act Collective Soul has set a Feb. 7 release for the DVD “Home: A Live Concert Recording With The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra,” which will also be available as a two-CD set. “Home” will be issued on the band's own El Music Group imprint. DirecTV will broadcast DVD highlights as its “Free View Concert” next month.

"Working with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra was really a unique experience,” says vocalist Ed Roland. “I never imagined that all of these young musicians could make our songs sound so beautiful in the most classic sense."

Collective Soul will ring in the New Year with a performance at the Underground in Atlanta.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.