Billboard Bits: Apples In Stereo, Siren Fest, Ditty Bops

Apples In Stereo to open Strokes dates, initial lineup set for Siren Music Festival and the Ditty Bops plan cross-country bike tour.

Veteran indie rock act the Apples In Stereo have been tapped to open for the Strokes on the last five dates of their North American headlining tour. The acts will play together starting May 20 in Richmond, Va., through May 26 in Asheville, N.C. Olivia Tremor Control principal Bill Doss will join the Apples during the run to play keyboards and sing backup.

After an extended break, the Apples in Stereo are currently recording their fifth studio album, "New Magnetic Wonder," which is slated for a 2007 release through an unnamed label. The group has spent the majority of its career recording for spinART; its last studio set was 2002's "Velocity of Sound."

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.

Stars, Art Brut, Tapes 'n Tapes and the Stills are among the artists tapped to play the sixth annual Siren Music Festival. The Village Voice-sponsored concert festival will take place July 15 on New York's Coney Island.

She Wants Revenge, the Cribs and Dirty On Purpose are also included in the initial line-up, with more bands to be announced at a later date.

As in previous years, the free, all-day festival will present two stages in the amusement park, and will also feature merchant booths and music vendors. No tickets will be issued.

Artists like Spoon, Mates of State and Brendan Benson headlined the festival last year.

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.

While most up-and-coming bands travel the country in a van, the Ditty Bops are streamlining their approach for their upcoming three-month tour. Beginning May 24, the duo of Amanda Barrett and Abby DeWald will hit the road exclusively by bicycle as they trek from Los Angeles to New York.

The admitted cycling enthusiasts will be out in support of their second album, "Moon Over the Freeway," due May 23 via Warner Bros. Plans are for the pair to perform in theaters, music halls, bike stores and even at farms along the way. Initial dates are posted on the group's
official Web site, with more stops added as they are confirmed.

"We decided to do the tour this way to promote not only our album, but also cycling and cleaner air," DeWald says. "If we can ride our bikes across the country and play music, we hope others will be inspired to ride their bikes more often. It'll also be nice to move our bodies rather than sit in a mush pile in the back of a dirty van."

-- Barry Jeckell, N.Y.