Billboard Bits: Hill/McGraw, The Rentals, Scritti Politti

News on Hill/McGraw, The Rentals, Scritti Politti

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have added a July 5 Hurricane Katrina benefit show at the New Orleans Arena to the itinerary of their successful Soul 2 Soul II tour. Proceeds will be donated to aid organizations in Louisiana and Mississippi via the artists' new Neighbor's Keeper Foundation.

In addition, half the floor seats will be given away to Katrina volunteer workers. The rest of the tickets will be sold at discounted prices, according to a statement.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

After a long break, the Rentals have reformed and will resume touring this summer, beginning July 2 date in Solana Beach, Calif. Founding members Matt Sharp (formerly of Weezer) and Rachel Haden have added mutli-instrumentalist Sara Radle, keyboardist Ben Bringle, violaist Lauren Chipman and drummer Joeright to their ranks for the dates, their first in North America in a decade.

The group will return to the recording studio later this year and hopes to release a new set in 2007. The Rentals are best known for their 1995 single "Friends of P," which reached No. 6 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart. The group's last album was 1999's "Seven More Minutes."

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.

U.K. alternative pop act Scritti Politti returns this summer after a seven-year hiatus with its fifth album, "White Bread, Black Beer" (Rough Trade). For most of its career, Scritti Politti has been an alias for singer/songwriter Green Gartside, but the act first emerged in 1977 in Leeds, England, as a raw, politically charged funk-reggae trio.

After that early lineup disbanded, Gartside revealed a smoother, literate, pop/soul style on the 1982 debut album "Songs to Remember" (Rough Trade). The group vanished for a decade after 1988's "Provision"; its last album was 1999's hip-hop-influenced "Anomie & Bonhomie" (Virgin).

A notorious perfectionist prone to stage fright, Gartside played low-key London dates earlier this year -- his first shows since 1980 -- are a more extensive tour is in the works.

-- Tom Ferguson, London