News on Gorillaz/D12, Beth Orton, Mudhoney

D12Detroit rap crew D12 -- sans its highest-profile member, Eminem -- made an appearance at Gorillaz' debut New York performance last night (Feb. 28) at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The other five members of the group -- Bizarre, Proof, Kon Artis, Kuniva, and Swift -- came out in front of the stage's screen to perform "911," their collaboration with Gorillaz written and released on the latter's official Web site last November, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

D12 surprised the audience by making the only actual "appearance" of the entire show, as Gorillaz' musicians were all obscured by a backlit screen in deference to their animated counterparts, who appeared in the projected videos accompanying each song. Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn also announced that the Specials' Terry Hall was joining as a special guest for the song, but he added his contributions behind the curtain with the rest of the group.

For a full review of the show, visit Billboard.com's live reviews section later today.


-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.







Beth OrtonSome high profile guests will make appearances on Beth Orton's forthcoming third album, due later this year from Astralwerks. Ryan Adams plays piano and sings backup on Orton's "Concrete Sky," and plays guitar on "OK," which he wrote. Emmylou Harris contributes backing vocals to "Godsong," while a co-write with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr is also being considered.

The as-yet-untitled set is Orton's follow-up to 1999's "Central Reservation" (Arista), which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and has sold 244,000 copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan. The artist can currently be heard singing on "The State We're In," from the Chemical Brothers' new Astralwerks album "Come With Us."


-- Jason Reynolds, L.A.







MudhoneyAfter three albums and one EP on Reprise, Seattle-based rock act Mudhoney has rejoined the Sub Pop roster, and has tentatively set an Aug. 20 release date for its next album. The band is recording the as-yet-unnamed set at a host of studios around the city.

The band's lineup has also seen its first change since forming in 1988, as bassist Matt Lukin "remains resolutely retired," according to a Sub Pop statement. Guy Maddison (Lubricated Goat, Bloodloss) has replaced Lukin in the fold, joining longtime Mudhoney members Mark Arm (vocals), Dan Peters (drums), and Steve Turner (guitar).

The band, which epitomized Seattle's grunge scene with its boozy, distortion-soaked songs, released "Tomorrow Hit Today," its final Reprise album, in 1998. In 2000, Sub Pop released a two-disc, 52-track best-of set, "March to Fuzz," that included "Touch Me I'm Sick," which in 1988 became the first seven-inch single commercially released by the label.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.