Billboard Bits: 'United,' Lo Fi Allstars, Baez, Liars

News on 'United,' Lo Fi Allstars, Baez, Liars

indiaIndia.Arie, Hootie & the Blowfish's Darius Rucker, Mya, Master P, Lil' Romeo, Keb' Mo', and Bob Marley's wife Rita, as well as actors Christina Applegate and Carmen Electra, will hit a Los Angeles recording studio tomorrow (Feb. 28) to record a song to benefit the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund to benefit the education of dependents of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Under the United We Sing banner, the stars will record a new, as-yet-unnamed anthem written by Chic's Nile Rodgers (Madonna, Elton John) that will be produced by Full Force ('N Sync, Britney Spears). Sessions in Nashville and New York may also be scheduled, according to a spokesperson for the project.

The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund was founded by former President Bill Clinton and former senator Bob Dole, who are co-chairs of the campaign fund effort. The fund is administered by the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Just after the March 5 release of its Skint/Columbia set "Don't Be Afraid of Love," innovative dance act Lo Fidelity Allstars will be in the U.S. for a quartet of live appearances. The run will begin with a March 14 showcase in Austin, Texas, with labelmates Riddlin' Kids, the Ataris, Quarashi, and X-ecutioners. From there the band will visit Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, where it will close the tour with a set at Vynyl. Following the U.S. dates, several members of the group will be off to Australia for DJ gigs and promotional duties related to the album's release there, according to a label spokesperson. A full band European tour will kick off in March, and further U.S. dates are being planned for late spring. "Don't Be Afraid of Love" is the follow-up to the Lo Fi's 1999 album "How To Operate With a Blown Mind," which reached No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. The album spawned the single "Battle Flag" featuring Pigeonhed, which peaked at No. 6 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Sleeping Faster," the first single from "Don't Be Afraid of Love," is No. 15 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music: Club Play chart this week.

March 14: Austin, Texas (La Zona Rosa) March 16: Chicago (Metro) March 18: New York (Bowery Ballroom) March 20: Los Angeles (Vynyl)

The second set of Vanguard's Joan Baez Original Master Series of reissues will emerge March 5 with "Joan Baez in Concert" and "Joan Baez In Concert Part 2." Both digitally remastered albums will feature previously unreleased tracks and new liner notes and artwork to accompany replicas of the originals. The albums were the fruit of a plan hatched by Vanguard co-owner Maynard Solomon to record approximately 40 concerts between fall 1961 and spring 1963. Added to 1963's "In Concert" is the previously unreleased recordings of "My Lord What A Morning," "My Good Old Man," and "Streets of Laredo." Like the original, "Part 2" is notable for its inclusion an emotional version of "We Shall Overcome," recorded when Baez played Miles College in Birmingham, Ala., one of four black colleges in the Deep South. Here the set adds "Rambler Gambler," restored from the original vinyl issue of the album, and "Railroad Bill," previously unavailable on compact disc. In addition, the album boasts previously unreleased recordings of "Death of Emmett Till," "Tomorrow Is a Long Time," and "When First Unto This Country a Stranger I Came." Last August , 1960's "Joan Baez," 1961's "Joan Baez Vol. 2", and 1966's holiday set "Noel" were the first albums reissued in the Vanguard series. In all, the label plans to re-release 14 of Baez' Vanguard albums.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Rising New York rock act Liars has signed a worldwide deal with Mute/Blast First. This spring, the label will reissue Liars' 2001 debut, "They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top" (Gern Blandsten), in Europe; it is not yet confirmed whether the set will be reissued in North America. The group is already working on material for its Mute debut, likely due later this year. Liars played its first show in January 2001 and have since drawn raves in New York and beyond for their intense live presence and unique blend of rumbling bass lines, off-kilter rhythms, and memorable, group-sung choruses. The group has U.S. tour dates lined up through mid-March, including a March 6 hometown appearance at the New York Underground Film Festival and a March 22 slot at Michigan Fest outside Detroit, alongside Dismemberment Plan, Death Cab For Cutie, and Milemarker.

March 6: New York (Mercury Lounge / NY Underground Film Fest) March 12: Washington, D.C. (Black Cat) March 13: Richmond, Va. (Swingers) March 15: Nashville (Springwater) March 16: Knoxville, Tenn. (Pilot Light) March 17: Columbia, Mo. (the Ranch) March 18: St. Louis (Way Out Club) March 19: Kansas City, Mo. (Abe and Jake's Landing) March 20: Lincoln, Neb. (Duffy's) March 21: Iowa City, Iowa (Theta Beta Potata) March 22: Wayne, Mich. (Michigan Fest) March 23: Chicago (Empty Bottle) March 24: Indianapolis (Melody Inn) March 25: Bowling Green, Ohio (Howard's) March 26: Detroit (3rd St. Saloon) March 27: Edinboro, Pa. (Edinboro University) March 30: New York (Brownies)