Stories on Shabba Ranks, Noise Pop, and the second Home Alive benefit compilation.

Shabba RanksReggae singer/rapper Shabba Ranks, the subject of a recent Sony/Legacy greatest-hits compilation, is recording a new album after a six-year self-imposed hiatus. Slated for early 2002, the as-yet-untitled set will be released through L.O.Y. Entertainment, whose principal, Horatio Hamilton, will also co-produce the project with Ranks.

"I haven't really been away," the Jamaica-based Ranks tells Billboard for the Dec. 8 issue. "It's just that I haven't been rolling on the international level. On the local level, I'm very much alive. I never stopped making music. I just went underground."

Describing the new album, Ranks notes, "It's going to be the same Shabba but with more maturity. Forget the imitators. It's time for the real originality. I also have a couple of local Jamaica acts that I'm getting ready to set down on the American side."

Regarding the recent hits collection, Ranks frankly states, "Greatest hits is for when you're in a wheelchair. I'm still here with the energy, intention, and motivation to do more." Ranks' last studio album was the 1995 Epic project "A Mi Shabba "

Indeed, setting the stage for his return, Ranks has been doing spot dates, including this summer's Sashi Experience 2001 in Jamaica, which also featured Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. The show, the culmination of an annual weeklong series of events benefiting Jamaica youth, is named after Hamilton's daughter.


-- Gail Mitchell, L.A.







Dismemberment PlanThe 10th anniversary of San Francisco's Noise Pop music festival has been set for Feb. 26 through March 3, 2002. Already confirmed performers include a first time collaboration by X's John Doe and Neko Case, Washington, D.C. indie-rock favorites the Dismemberment Plan, the Faint, Death Cab for Cutie, and the New Pornographers.

The six-night festival will present an eclectic slate of acts at host of the city's venues, including the legendary Fillmore, Bimbo's 365 Club, Bottom of the Hill, Slim's, and Great American Music Hall. Concurrent with the music festival, the event's 2002 edition will also feature the Noise Pop Film Fest, Noise Pop Educational Series, art openings, and a special anniversary party.

For updated information, visit noisepop.com.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







Amy RayFeaturing a song by Amy Ray & the Butchies, a side project of the Indigo Girls member, as well as tracks by Zen Guerrilla , and Dead Moon, "Flying Side Kick," the second Home Alive benefit compilation, was released Nov. 19. The set seeks to raise funds for the Seattle-based Home Alive anti-violence project, which offers self-defense classes, provides public education and awareness, and leads local community organizing efforts.

The 17-disc also features music by the Pinkos, Carrie Akre, and Going South, among others. Most of the artists on "Flying Side Kick" are expected to appear at a Jan. 4 release party at Seattle's Experience Music Project.

For more information on the disc or the Home Alive, visit the organization's Web site.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.