Liz Phair has recorded her first album of new material in more than five years. Speaking yesterday (March 13) with Recording Academy president Neil Portnow during the South By Southwest (SXSW) music c

Liz Phair has recorded her first album of new material in more than five years. Speaking yesterday (March 13) with Recording Academy president Neil Portnow during the South By Southwest (SXSW) music conference, Phair described the self-titled set, due June 24 from Capitol, as having "big songs. They are cool and they rock."

Phair said she recorded "40 or 50 songs" and "picked my favorites from the last five years" to create the album. The set features the work of several producers, including Michael Penn, R. Walt Vincent (Pete Yorn), and the Matrix, among others. "Honestly, the reason why this next record is so good is because I collaborated," Phair admitted. "It's a totally new feeling for me to be really proud [of my music]," she added with a laugh.

Because she's well known for personal, soul-baring songs, Phair said she realizes some may balk at her decision to work with a mainstream outfit such as production/songwriting team the Matrix (Avril Lavigne), instead of remaining under the independent banner with which she has long been associated. "I think that people who stay indie are very 'us vs. them,'" she said. "I say, 'Why paint yourself into a corner?'"

The set will be the follow up to 1998's "whitechocolatespaceegg," which debuted at No. 35 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 266,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. "That was more reflective of a post-motherhood type of thing," Phair said of that album. "This is more rock." As for the extended delay between releases, Phair explained, "It's hard to write good songs, frankly."

Phair said she no longer suffers from extreme stage fright, which in the past led to spotty performances and kept her from extensive touring. "I just got over it," she said. "[Now] it's just so much fun. It's hard to get off the stage. I'm gonna tour, that's the raw fact. I'm gonna be out there for a long time. I'm gonna love it. I love performing, truly."

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