News on Paul Weller, The Cure, Martina McBride

WellerEnduring U.K. rocker Paul Weller is eyeing an October release for his new studio album, "As Is Now." The set will be issued via Yep Roc in North America and worldwide via V2, and is led by the single "From the Floorboards Up," which will be available July 19 via iTunes. A video for the Jam-inspired cut can be streamed on Weller's official Web site.

The artist will preview the album with a North American tour, the first six dates of which will run from Sept. 16 in Los Angeles through Sept. 25 in Boston. A month-long U.K. tour will get underway Nov. 10 in Edinburgh.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.







CureGuitarist Porl Thompson will rejoin the Cure for its string of European festival dates this summer. According to the band's official Web site, it marks Thompson's third time with the group. Originally, he played with the Cure between 1976 and 1978 and again from 1983 to 1993.

As previously reported, longtime keyboardist Roger O'Donnell and guitarist Perry Bamonte exited the band late last month. The remaining trio of frontman Robert Smith, drummer Jason Cooper and bassist Simon Gallup performed a special studio session in London last week, tracks from which will be available on iTunes and Yahoo! Music.

"Porl coming back adds new dimensions and possibilities -- for the summer repertoire and beyond," Smith says. "I suppose the short answer is: We are going back to our roots to find a new direction!"


-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto







MartinaCome July, country star Martina McBride will be immortalized as the latest entry in Mattel's line of celebrity Barbie dolls. Dressed in a replica of the gown the artist wore to last year's Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, the doll will retail for $19.99 and comes with a keepsake bracelet and a poster.

"Having been a fan of Barbie dolls since I was a little girl, it's incredible to actually have a Barbie created in my likeness," McBride says. "I hope both my fans and fans of Barbie dolls everywhere will be as excited as I am!"

Other celebrities who have had found their likenesses among the Barbie celebrity line include Cher, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.