Billboard Bits: Buzzcocks, Air, MC Solaar

News on Buzzcocks, Air, MC Solaar

BuzzVeteran U.K. rock act the Buzzcocks will kick off a North American club tour Friday (Nov. 28) in Chicago. The eight-date trek wraps Dec. 6 in Philadelphia, and is the group's first run of shows in the region since its stint opening for Pearl Jam this summer.

Afterward, the Buzzcocks return to the U.K. for 11 more dates through Dec. 21 in Norwich. The group is touring in support of its self-titled Merge Records album, released in March. A new single, "Sick City Sometimes," is due Monday (Dec. 1) via Damaged Goods and at the shows, backed by the previously unreleased "Never Believe It" and a live version of "Paradise."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

AirFrench duo Air has begun confirming dates for 2004, beginning with a nine-show run in the U.K. The trek kicks off Feb. 9 in Brighton and will wrap Feb. 19 in Southampton. Air's long-awaited
new album, "Talkie Walkie," will be released Jan. 26 internationally and the following day in North America via Source/Astralwerks. A single, "Cherry Blossom Girl," arrives Jan. 12.

Here are Air's tour dates:

Feb. 9: Brighton, England (Brighton Dome)
Feb. 10: Birmingham, England (Academy)
Feb. 11: Nottingham, England (Rock City)
Feb. 13: Manchester, England (Apollo)
Feb. 14: Glasgow (Academy)
Feb. 15: Dublin (Olympia)
Feb. 17: Cambridge, England (Corn Exchange)
Feb. 18: London (Brixton Academy)
Feb. 19: Southampton, England (Guildhall)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

MCWarner Music France's EastWest label and French rapper MC Solaar have teamed up with Microsoft to preview tracks from the artist's new album "Mach 6," via a free promotional CD-ROM. 300,000 CDs, containing seven tracks (one in full, the others as 90-second extracts) were distributed yesterday to Parisian subway commuters with free daily newspaper Metro. The album is due Monday.

The tracks are encoded in Windows Media Audio 9, can be listened to up to 14 times and shared via email, P2P networks and MSN Messenger. The recipient of the songs can then also listen to them a limited number of times before midnight on Sunday (Nov. 30), at which time they will expire.

-- James Martin, Paris