Billboard Bits: Mos Def, Apples, Rockin' Roadhouse

News on Mos Def, Apples, Rockin' Roadhouse

DefRapper Mos Def and actor Franky G. and have been added to the cast of Paramount Pictures' "The Italian Job," a remake of the 1969 Paramount release of the same name that starred Michael Caine and Benny Hill. This reinvention of the action-oriented heist movie will be set in Italy and Los Angeles. It stars Mark Wahlberg as Charlie, head of a robbery crew that stages a traffic jam in order to steal back a safe filled with gold that previously had been stolen by a double-crossing associate, played by Edward Norton.

Charlize Theron plays Charlie's love interest. Mos Def and Franky G. are members of Charlie's crew. Mos Def will star as Half Ear, a robber with a Southern accent and a hearing aid. Franky G.'s role, that of a mechanic, is being written for him because the actor so impressed the producer and studio during his audition.

As previously reported, Mos Def, who stars in the Broadway musical "Topdog/Underdog," recently signed on to appear in the independent urban feature "From the Outside Looking In," which begins production in August.

-- Zorianna Kit, The Hollywood Reporter

AppleIndie pop stalwarts the Apples In Stereo will release a new studio album Oct. 8 on spinART Records. "The Velocity of Sound" is the group's first release since 2000's "The Discovery of the World Inside the Moone," and according to a label spokesman, will eschew much of the lush, Beach Boys-style production the group is known for, instead leaning toward a rawer, more rock-focused sound.

The album, which is not entirely finished yet, is being produced by group mastermind Robert Schneider, and co-mixed by Schneider and Bryce Goggin (Phish, Pavement). The group is expected to start touring in late August and continue throughout the fall in support of the album.

Meanwhile, the Apples' official Web site reveals that Schneider and XTC mainman Andy Partridge "are still passing demoes [sic] back and forth" and have "about 30 songs in the works" for a collaborative album to be recorded sometime this summer and released by the end of the year.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

JoeRockin' Roadhouse tour colleagues Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence, and Mark Chesnutt are prepping a compilation CD that will be available exclusively at tour shows in the coming weeks. As previously reported, Rockin' Roadhouse kicks off Saturday (June 22) in Fargo, N.D. The trio has written a new tour theme song, "Rockin' the Roadhouse Down," which they recently recorded at Diffie's home studio.

The compilation disc is also expected to include three hits from each artist: Diffie's "Is It Cold in Here," "Honky Tonk Attitude," and a live version of "John Deere Green"; Chesnutt's "It's a Little Too Late," "Bubba Shot the Jukebox," and "Too Cold at Home"; and Lawrence's "She Loved the Devil Out of Me," "If the World Had a Front Porch," and "The Holes That He Dug."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.


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