Billboard Bits: Air, NJ Skate & Surf, Peter Green

News on Air, NJ Skate & Surf, Peter Green

Groove ArmadaAlthough Air's next Source/Astralwerks studio album isn't expected until late 2003 at the earliest, the French duo has teamed with Italian writer Alessandro Baricco for "City Reading (Tre Storie Western)," due March 25. Baricco drafted Air to perform live as he read from his novel "City" last November in Rome, and the event went off so well that the principals agreed to commit it to tape.

Although the disc only spans three tracks ("La Putana di Closing Town," "Caccia all'uomo," "Bird"), it features more than an hour of newly composed music by Air's Nicolas Godin and JB Dunckel, with mixing by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck). Baricco reads three passages from the book atop the music.

Air's prior foray into scoring was its acclaimed soundtrack to "The Virgin Suicides," which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart in March 2000. The group's last studio set, "10,000 Hz. Legend," bowed at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and No. 3 on the Top Electronic Albums tally in June 2001.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Groove ArmadaAndrew WK, the Used, Goldfinger, and Reel Big Fish are among the early confirmations for this year's three-day Skate and Surf Festival, scheduled for April 25-27 at the Convention Hall Complex in Asbury Park, N.J. Garden State natives Thursday and Midtown have also committed to appear at the punk-focused event, alongside Brand New, From Autumn To Ashes, Taking Back Sunday, and Thrice.

More bands are expected to join up as the festival approaches, with skate, surf, and BMX exhibitions planned throughout the weekend. Last year's event boasted acts like New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, the Get Up Kids, the Descendents (who reformed for the gig), and the Alkaline Trio. Tickets will be made available through an Internet presale beginning tomorrow (January 17) at 3 p.m. ET on the event's official Web site.

-- John D. Luerssen, N.Y.

Groove ArmadaSinger/guitarist Peter Green -- best known as a founding member of Fleetwood Mac and member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers -- will return next month with a new album from his Splinter Group. Due Feb. 25 via Eagle Records, "Reaching the Cold 100" features drummer Larry Tolfree (Joe Jackson) and bassist Pete Stroud (Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks), alongside longtime members keyboardist Roger Cotton and guitarist/vocalist Nigel Watson.

"Reaching the Cold 100" is Green's third album for an Eagle Rock Entertainment-affiliated label, and follows last year's "Peter Plays the Blues: The Classic Compositions of Robert Johnson." 2002 also saw Green release "Blues Don't Change," an album of blues covers available only via the Internet.

The Splinter Group currently has just one date on its schedule, tomorrow (Jan. 17) in Zoetermeer, Holland. The group is expected to tour the Europe and the U.S. in 2003.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.