Billboard Bits: Rhymefest, Guster/LaMontagne, Bang On A Can

News on Rhymefest, Guster/LaMontagne, Bang On A Can

Chicago rapper Rhymefest has set July 11 as the new release date for his major-label debut, "Blue Collar," originally due April 18. The disc will be distributed via producer Mark Ronson's Allido/J imprint, and features appearances from Mario, Carl Thomas and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, in addition to production by Ronson, Kanye West, Just Blaze and Cool & Dre.

Lead single "Brand New" was produced by West. "Blue Collar" will be the follow-up to Rhymefest's 2001 independent release, "Raw Dawg," which was primarily produced by West.

Rhymefest has also been tapped to co-headline the 2nd annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival for a second year, along with Big Daddy Kane and fellow Chicagoan Lupe Fiasco. The concert will take place June 24 at the Historic Tobacco Warehouse. Rhymefest is currently touring with Method Man and Little Brother through May 12 in Chicago.

-- Clover Hope, N.Y.

Guster is hitting the road with Ray LaMontagne for a late summer tour. Performances begin July 11 at the Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore and run through mid-September.

The trek comes in support of Guster's new release, "
Ganging Up on the Sun," due June 20 via Reprise. The band’s next scheduled show is Thursday (May 4) at Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Mass.

LaMontagne will be testing new material from his upcoming effort, tentatively titled "Till The Sun Turns Black." As previously reported, the Ethan Johns-produced album may be released as early at August via RCA. He will play a handful of festival dates in Europe in June before embarking on the Guster tour.

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.

Matmos, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and Alarm Will Sound are among the artists participating in the Bang on a Can Marathon, which will be held June 4 at New York's World Financial Center. The free event is part of the River to River festival held each summer in lower Manhattan.

Matmos will perform with New York drumming ensemble So Percussion, while Kotche will play in a duo setting with Bang on a Can's David Cossin. Alarm Will Sound will run through interpretations of material by Aphex Twin and composer John Adams, while composer Michael Nyman will play backed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

Additional artists confirmed for the show include Amiina, Yat Kah, Gutbucket, Anthony Braxton, Dominic Frasca, Michael Harrison, Paul Lansky and Don Byron.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.


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