News on The Fire Theft, MTV, Grammys

Fire TheftThe Fire Theft, featuring former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk, bassist Nate Mendel, and drummer William Goldsmith, is hard at work on its as-yet-untitled debut album. The group, which played its first live shows last month in Seattle and Los Angeles, will also play next month at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and March 18-19 at New York's Bowery Ballroom.

Fans of Sunny Day Real Estate's emotionally resonant guitar rock will not be disappointed by the sound of the new venture. Enigk's pitch-perfect, high-register vocal blasts power such tunes as "It's Over" and "Hands on You," both of which could have fit on either of SDRE's final two studio albums. More subtle arrangements and quieter interludes can be found on "Houses" and "Sinatra," the latter of which can be sampled on the Fire Theft's official Web site.

The group is in talks with several labels to release the upcoming set, which is being produced by Brad Wood, who was behind the boards for SDRE's first two Sub Pop albums in 1994 and 1995. Mendel is expected to remain a member of the Foo Fighters, which once also counted Goldsmith among its ranks.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.







ExiesMTV is promoting music from developing artists via a new sampler series that the network is selling exclusively through its Web site and its Times Square store in New York, Billboard Bulletin reports.

The first release, "Advance Warning," is due Feb. 25. The compilation EP features tracks from such up-and-coming acts as the Raveonettes, the Exies, Sahara Hotnights, Kardinal Offishall featuring Pharrell Williams, T.O.K., Maroon 5, and the Format. "Advance Warning" will be sold at shop.mtv.com and the Times Square location for $4.99.

To help cut down on piracy and build awareness, consumers will receive two copies of the album with the purchase. "We know our audience is sharing music now more than ever," says Tom Calderone, MTV/MTV2 executive VP of music and talent programming.

The "Advance Warning" effort is billed as a collaboration among all of MTV's media outlets (MTV, MTV2, and mtv.com). It is being promoted through a special that will begin airing on MTV Feb. 24 and on MTV2 March 7. The album will be available as a free stream at mtv.com starting Feb. 21.


-- Brian Garrity, N.Y.







Beginning Monday (Feb. 10) at 3 p.m. ET, online travel site Travelocity will offer 200 exclusive travel packages for two to the 45th annual Grammy Awards in New York. The first 50 will include VIP tickets to the Feb. 23 ceremony at Madison Square Garden and passes to the official Grammy post-telecast celebration. The next 100 will two promotional tickets to the Grammys and tickets to an after-party. The final 50 packages will include two promotional tickets to the Grammy Awards.

Travelocity is also sponsoring a Win a Trip to the Grammys! Sweepstakes where four winners will each receive a last-minute trip for two to New York, including airfare, a three-night hotel stay, and VIP skybox seats to the ceremony. Winners will also attend the MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to U2 lead singer Bono the night before the awards. The contest will run Feb. 10-19; winners will be announced Feb. 20 and must be available for travel the next day. For more information, visit travelocity.com/grammys.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.