Billboard Bits: KROQ, Epitaph, American Hi-Fi

News on KROQ, Epitaph, American Hi-Fi

FranzLos Angeles radio station KROQ has rounded up a stellar lineup for the first night of its annual Almost Acoustic Christmas concert. To be held Dec. 11 at Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, the show will feature Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, Modest Mouse, Snow Patrol, the Killers, the Music, Jimmy Eat World, Keane, Taking Back Sunday and, as first reported here, the Shins.

Tickets for night one go on sale tonight (Nov. 16). The lineup for the event's second night will be announced tomorrow. Both shows will be cybercast on KROQ's official Web site.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

RomanceEpitaph Records is launching its first label tour in 2005. Set to run Feb. 2 through March 19, the bill of Matchbook Romance, Motion City Soundtrack and From First To Last will visit "every major U.S. city," according to the label. The tour will also include appearances by the Matches and Scatter The Ashes on select dates, yet to be confirmed.

Furthering the experience for fans, the Epitaph Tour will arrive replete with tote bags packed with label-oriented swag for all attendees. Among the goodies expected is a limited-edition DVD of videos by bands on the tour, as well as stickers, buttons and other paraphernalia.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Hi-FiRock act American Hi-Fi will release its third studio album, "Hearts on Parade," March 1 via Maverick. It will be the band's first for the label founded by Madonna after two studio sets and a live release through Island.

Led by former Letters To Cleo/Veruca Salt drummer Stacey Jones, American Hi-Fi recorded the album with artist/producer Butch Walker, and has been backing him in the opening slot on Avril Lavigne's fall tour. Once that tour ends Nov. 25 in Kelowna, British Columbia, the two acts will launch a co-headlining tour Dec. 4 in Raleigh, N.C.

American Hi-Fi is best known for the track "Flavor of the Weak" from its self-titled 2001 debut. It reached No. 5 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart and No. 41 on the Hot 100, while the album made it to No. 81 on The Billboard 200. The 2003 follow-up, "The Art of Losing," topped out at No. 80 on the album chart, while its title track reached No. 33 on the modern list.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.