Billboard Bits: Widespread Panic, Underworld, Harmer

News on Widespread Panic, Underworld, Harmer

Widespread Panic will close out 2005 with a Dec. 30-31 run at Atlanta's Philips Arena and will also drop by the city's Roxy Theatre for a Dec. 29 benefit for Tunes for Tots. Tickets for that gig go on sale Saturday (Dec. 3), with all proceeds earmarked for music education programs in Georgia.

The Athens, Ga., based band will hit the studio in January with famed producer Terry Manning to begin work on its next album, which is expected for a summer release. It will be the follow-up to 2003's "Ball," which has sold more than 101,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Breaking a 15-month hiatus that began in 2004, Widespread toured for much of the year, including stints at Lollapalooza and Farm Aid.

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.

Underworld will on Dec. 7 release the second installment in its new Riverrun Project of digital downloads via "Pizza for Eggs" is a 25-minute piece highlighted by a hypnotic, piano-driven interlude that dominates its second half. The file is bundled with 444 photos shot by the groupo as well as cover artwork.

Earlier this month, the veteran electronica duo launched the download series with the 28-minute composition "Lovely Broken Thing." The site promises upcoming remixes for both releases from such artists as Martinez, Pete Heller and Robag Wruhme.

As previously reported, Underworld is at work on a variety of other projects, including penning the score to the upcoming Anthony Minghella film "Breaking and Entering," as well as "some remixes/collaborations with some of our favorite underground dance producers/DJs.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer will release her third album, "I'm a Mountain," Feb. 7 in the United States via Zoe/Rounder. Issued Nov. 8 in Canada via Universal, the disc finds Harmer taking a completely acoustic approach on 11 songs conceived while hiking Southern Ontario's Bruce Trail.

Among the tracks on the bluegrass-invoking set is "Escarpment Blues," which deals with a land-use conflict in the Niagara Escarpment, where Harmer grew up on a family farm. She also covers Dolly Parton's "Will He Be Waiting for Me" and delivers the children's song "Salamandre" in French.

"Mountain" is the follow up to last year's "All of Our Names," which bowed at No. 43 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. The former Weeping Tile/Saddletramps member released her first solo album, the critically acclaimed "You Were Here," in 2000.

Harmer's Canadian tour with her acoustic band plays Toronto tonight (Nov. 30) and runs through a Dec. 9 show in Guelph, Ontario. A U.S. tour is being planned to open in February and will include a stop at Austin, Texas' South by Southwest Music Festival in March.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.