Billboard Bits: Ivy, Backstreet Boys, Company Flow

News on Ivy, Fountains Of Wayne, Backstreet Boys, Company Flow, Zack De La Rocha, Verve Pipe

New York-based pop act Ivy has signed with Nettwerk for North American distribution after failing to renegotiate with Sony/550 Music. Led by French-born Dominque Durand and featuring Adam Schlesinger (also a member of Fountains Of Wayne), Ivy released its third album, "Long Distance," on EastWest last year in Japan and enjoyed a successful tour of the region with Tahiti 80. That group's U.S. debut album, "Puzzle," (Minty Fresh) was produced by Ivy's Andy Chase.

"Long Distance" is expected to hit these shores in early summer, and Ivy plans to tour the U.S. at around the same time. The band's tenure on 550 Music was a short one, encompassing only a repackaged version of 1998's "Apartment Life," which was originally released on Atlantic. Fountains Of Wayne has also parted company with Atlantic and are currently shopping for a new deal, while Schlesinger is producing the third RCA album from Michigan modern rock outfit the Verve Pipe.

-- Todd Martens, L.A.

The Backstreet Boys were forced to take the stage at Denver's Pepsi Center last night (Feb. 19) without group member Kevin Richardson, who never made it to the gig thanks to weather-related airport delays. Although some fans sought out refunds, a Pepsi Center spokesperson says none will be offered since the show was performed as scheduled. Richardson is due to rejoin his bandmates in time for a Friday (Feb. 23) show in Vancouver.

New York-based underground hip-hop favorites Company Flow, who announced their breakup last November, will reconvene for a final show March 28 at New York's Bowery Ballroom. A number of other affiliated acts will also be on the bill, including Cannibal Ox, Mr. Lif, Aesop Rock, the Indelible MCs, and "some very super secret special guests."

The final release bearing the Company Flow name will be a CD version of a previously vinyl-only split single with Cannibal Ox, which will be augmented with additional tracks and issued March 20 on Def Jux. Cannibal Ox's full-length debut, "Cold Vein," featuring beats by Company Flow principal El-P, and is due out on Def Jux in late May.

In the meantime, El-P is set to begin a three-week block of recording with ex-Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha on the latter's long-awaited Epic solo debut. No release date has yet been scheduled for the set. El-P plans to release a solo album of his own later this year on Def Jux.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.