Manchester Attack

Marr Brings 'Boomslang' To North America

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr will release "Boomslang," his debut album with his new band the Healers, Feb. 4 via iMusic.

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr will release "Boomslang," his debut album with his new band the Healers, Feb. 4 via iMusic. As previously reported, Marr is backed on the set by the Who drummer Zak Starkey and former Kula Shaker bassist Alonza Bevan, among others. Fans can sample the track "Down on the Corner" on Marr's official Web site.

Marr and company have lined up a short North American tour in support of the set, marking the artist's first extended string of dates in the region in years. The trek begins Jan. 18 in Philadelphia and wraps Feb. 3 in West Hollywood, Calif. Fellow iMusic labelmate mellowdrone will support.

As previously reported, the Healers will quickly head to Australia following the North American shows to open five dates with Pearl Jam. Marr and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder previously collaborated in early 2001 with former Split Enz/Crowded House principal Neil Finn for a series of concerts in New Zealand, chronicled on the Nettwerk live album and DVD "Seven Worlds Collide."

As for "Boomslang," the 11-song set will likely be sweet music to the ears of fans who've lost track of Marr since his halcyon days with the Smiths. Indeed, the artist's unmistakable melodic strumming serves as the foundation for a host of tunes, and the intro riffs on opener "The Last Ride" may evoke memories of the early Smiths classic "What Difference Does It Make."

Elsewhere, Marr (who handles lead vocals throughout) tests out programmed beats and backward guitar tones on "You Are the Magic" and later offers up the short instrumental "Headland," which blends a repeated acoustic riff with ominous atmospherics.

Here are Johnny Marr and the Healers' tour dates:

Jan. 18: Philadelphia (North Star)
Jan. 20: Washington, D.C. (Black Cat)
Jan. 21-22: New York (Mercury Lounge)
Jan. 24: Boston (the Paradise)
Jan. 26: Toronto (Lee's Palace)
Jan. 28: Chicago (Double Door)
Feb. 1: San Francisco (Bimbo's 365)
Feb. 3: Los Angeles (Troubadour)
Feb. 8: Brisbane, Australia (Brisbane Entertainment Centre)
Feb. 11: Sydney (Sydney Entertainment Centre)
Feb. 16: Adelaide, Australia (Adelaide Entertainment Centre)
Feb. 18: Melbourne (Rod Laver Arena)
Feb. 23: Perth, Australia (Burswood Dome)