Billboard Bits: Vandross, Powerpuff Girls, Kraftwerk

News on Luther Vandross, Powerpuff Girls, Kraftwerk

LutherSoul/R&B legend Luther Vandross, hospitalized since suffering a stroke April 16, has been moved out of the Intensive Care unit at New York's Weill Cornell Medical College. Vandross' business manager and friend Carmen Romano says the artist's health is improving.

"I am happy to report that Luther Vandross continues to improve and that he is more and more responsive each day. Perhaps most significantly, he is no longer in the Intensive Care unit. I feel as though I am watching a modern day miracle," Romano says in a statement.

Vandross' latest studio album, "Dance with My Father," was released Tuesday (June 10) on J Records. It is the follow-up to 2001's "Luther Vandross," which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and has sold 1.2 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

VitaFemale artists drive the soundtrack "The Powerpuff Girls: Power Pop," due July 29 on Kid Rhino/Rhino Records/Warner Strategic Marketing. Shonen Knife, Vitamin C, No Secrets, and Cherish are among the acts on the album. "The Powerpuff Girls" animation series airs on the Cartoon Network. The program has spawned several video games and the 2002 feature film "The Powerpuff Girls Movie."

A 2000 soundtrack from the series, "The Powerpuff Girls: Heroes & Villains," peaked at No. 181 on The Billboard 200.

Here is the track listing for "The Powerpuff Girls: Power Pop":

"That's What Girls Do," No Secrets
"Power of the Female," Cherish
"Rocket Candy," Leslie Mills
"What Do You Do," the Troys
"Me and My Girls," Cherish
"All I Want (Sunship Radio Edit)," Mis-Teeq
"Chemical X," Cherish
"Special," Vitamin C
"Baby I Don't Care," Jennifer Ellison
"Buttercup (I'm a Super Girl)," Shonen Knife
"On Top of Your World," Sahara Hotnights
"Super Secret City of Soundsville Song," Ursula 1000
"Powerpunk End Theme," Bis

-- Carla Hay, N.Y.

DaveSeminal electronic/rock act Kraftwerk is set to release a new single and album to coincide with the centennial version of the Tour de France bicycle race, which begins July 5. Astralwerks/EMI will release the single "Tour De France 03" July 8, with the album "Tour De France" due to follow on July 22.

The German group is working on the final mix of the new album at its own Kling Klang studios in Dusseldorf, according to a statement. The album will be the band's first all-new full-length since 1986's "Electric Cafe" (Elektra), and only its second in more than 20 years.

The group's most recent release was the 1999 single "Expo 2000," inspired by the German Exposition of that year. Kraftwerk has also made music for the Tour de France before -- an EP of that name was released on vinyl in 1983, featuring the title track and three others.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.