Billboard Bits: Bjork, Slayer, Jackie King/Willie Nelson

News on Bjork, Slayer, Jackie King, and Willie Nelson

BjorkAbout 100 lucky Bjork fans were able to score tickets through the artist's official Web site for a pair of shows tonight (May 22) at the Riverside Church in the New York neighborhood of Harlem. Demand was so great that the Web site crashed on Friday, according to a post on the site. The site received more than 300,000 hits per minute moments before the on-sale time, overloading its servers.

The artist -- who will perform two 45-minute sets of material from her upcoming Elektra album "Vespertine" at the church -- is expected to announce a fall tour of North American and European opera houses in the coming weeks. In a note on the site, Bjork says those shows will be "as acoustic as possible. I am going to sing acoustically without a PA system, so I need buildings that can accommodate this requirement."

"Vespertine," produced by Bjork with Spike Stent, includes contributions from Matmos and writer/filmmaker Harmony Korine ("Kids," "Gummo"), who co-wrote the track "Harm Of Will." The set, due Aug. 28, will be preceded this summer by the single "Hidden Place."

-- Paul Sexton, London

SlayerVeteran metal act Slayer will on July 10 release its eighth studio album, "God Hates Us All." The American Recordings set reunited the band with producer Matt Hyde (Porno for Pyros, Monster Magnet), who previously worked with Slayer on "Bloodline," its contribution to the "Dracula 2000" soundtrack.

As previously reported, the band will join Pantera's "Extreme Steel" tour, kicking off June 20 in New Haven, Conn. Other bands confirmed for the five-week run are Static X, Morbid Angel, and Skrape.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Jackie KingGuitarist Jackie King, who is a regular member of Willie Nelson's touring band, will on June 19 release "The Gypsy," an album of jazz standards via the Indigo Moon label. On the set, King is backed by Andrew Higgins (acoustic bass), Jon Blondell (electric bass), Don Haas (piano), and Bob Scott (drums), as well as Nelson himself, who contributes guitar and/or vocals to five of the album's 10 tracks.

Among the songs on "The Gypsy" are the title track, which Nelson regularly plays as part of his live set, the Jenny Lou Carson-penned "Jealous Heart," and Hoagy Carmichael/Ned Washington song "The Nearness of You."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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