Billboard Bits: Audioslave, The Shins, Tiger Woods, Cray

News on Audioslave, Shins, Tiger Woods, Cray

Audioslave"Be Yourself," the first single from Audioslave's as-yet-untitled sophomore album, has begun deluging U.S. radio outlets, including WXRK-New York, which has been spinning it repeatedly in the past few days. The new album is due in May via Interscope.

Featuring a wah-wah-laden solo by guitarist Tom Morello, the mid-tempo "Be Yourself" is reminiscent more of the group's No. 1 Modern Rock Tracks chart hit "Like a Stone" than the harder-edged fare on its 2003 self-titled Epic debut.

Audioslave has already confirmed a six-week summer European tour in support of the new album, beginning May 29 at Lisbon's Super Rock festival. North American dates have yet to be announced.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

ShinsIndie rock outfit the Shins have begun confirming dates for a spring North American tour, beginning with an April 11-12 stand in Minneapolis. Shows are on tap through April 29-30 in Asheville, N.C., but additional gigs will be added.

The group is not expected to hit the studio to begin work on its third album until later this year, with an eye on a 2006 release via Sub Pop. "It seems to be not very effective for me to try and write new songs out on tour," frontman James Mercer
told last November. "I'm so out of sorts, just being in a hotel. We never have time, either. You're either recovering or you're in a van driving."

The Shins' sophomore album, "Chutes Too Narrow," peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and has shifted 293,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Here are the Shins' tour dates:

April 11-12: Minneapolis (First Avenue)
April 13: Milwaukee (Eagles Ballroom)
April 14: Chicago (Congress Theater)
April 17: Toronto (Kool Haus)
April 21: Providence, R.I. (Meehan Auditorium)
April 23-24: New York (Webster Hall)
April 27: Philadelphia (Electric Factory)
April 28: Norfolk, Va. (NorVa)
April 29-30: Asheville, N.C. (Orange Peel)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

StevieStevie Wonder will headline
Tiger Jam VIII, the annual Tiger Woods Foundation benefit concert. Set for May 21 at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay resort/casino, the event will also feature Counting Crows in the opening slot.

The seven previous Tiger Jam events have raised more than $7 million for various charities, including Child Haven, Center for Independent Living, Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas, GRAMMY in the Schools and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. Tickets start at $50 and go on sale March 19 via Ticketmaster.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

CrayContemporary bluesman Robert Cray will release his next album, "Twenty," May 24 via Sanctuary. Like his last set, 2003's "Time Will Tell," the artist and his longtime keyboardist Jim Pugh produced the new album, which was engineered by Don Smith.

"What I like most about the album is the variety of songs," Cray says. "We covered a lot of bases on the record -- from a touch of jazz with 'My Last Regret' and 'Two Steps From the End' to 'Does It Really Matter' which has a rock feel to it."

Though named "Twenty," the set is actually Cray's 14th studio album and is made up of 11 songs. The set takes its name from a pointed commentary on the U.S. war in Iraq that is featured on the album. Cray and his band logged their 1,000th live performance in January and plan to add to that total throughout the year.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.