New Massive expected in early 2007.

Fifteen years after its first album, pioneering U.K. “trip-hop” act Massive Attack is hitting the road to promote “Collected—The Best of Massive Attack” (Virgin). The act will play late-April U.S. dates in Seattle, Denver and Indio, Calif. (at the Coachella Festival), booked by Monterey Peninsula Artists. June sees U.K./European dates, handled by International Talent Booking, ahead of appearances at Japan’s Summersonic festivals in Osaka and Tokyo (Aug. 11-12).

Massive Attack put aside work on its long-awaited fifth studio album—tentatively titled “Weather Underground”—to promote “Collected,” Virgin Records U.K. product manager Ben Curwin says. “Weather Underground” is now expected in early 2007.

“Collected” had a U.K./international release March 27 and a U.S. release April 4. It includes one new track, the recent U.K. hit “Live With Me,” while a special edition features rare/unreleased material.

A major multi-media campaign has helped U.K. shipments approach platinum (300,000 units), Curwin says. “All activity has been in conjunction with long-lead tastemaker and grass-roots marketing to reinvigorate fans and target the huge potential lapsed fan base,” he adds.

Universal Music Publishing Group/Island Music handles Massive Attack’s publishing.

—Steve Adams

ROWED SONGS: Two years after first being heard by nearly 9 million TV viewers, British melodic rock duo Public Symphony’s “Stronger” is finally getting a U.K. single release.

Public Symphony is writer/musician/producer team Dobs Vye and James Reynolds. They originally wrote the atmospheric ballad for BBC TV’s 2004 coverage of the annual University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, which claimed 8.9 million viewers.

Vye—himself a competitor in the race in 1990—owns Adage Music, which produces music themes for TV programs. Reynolds is best-known as a dance music producer. Vye says awareness to date of “Stronger” and its animated video was chiefly built by word-of-mouth and the Web site. But in late March the song placed third in the AAA/roots/Americana category in the annual International Songwriting Competition.

U.S.-based event producer Candace Avery founded the ISC in 2001. This year it attracted 15,000 entries from 82 countries; judges included Universal Republic president Monte Lipman and artists Tom Waits, Joss Stone and LeAnn Rimes.
“Stronger” is due May 15 as a U.K. single by Absolute/Universal-distributed Adage, which issued the self-published duo’s eponymous album April 10.

The album is available for international licensing, Vye adds. “We’re trying this ‘do-it-yourself’ model; it’s powerfully autonomous. If we can sell a few thousand albums, it all makes sense.”

—Paul Sexton

WORDY WIZARD: The rise of Italian rap continues with the ironic rhymes of Caparezza on his third album, “Habemus Capa” (Virgin). The 19-track set debuted at No. 5 on the FIMI album chart one week following its March 24 release. “That’s his best performance so far,” Virgin Italy GM Mario Sala says. “We’re already close to gold [40,000 shipments] and expect to work this album with at least three or four singles, up until Christmas.”

The album was preceded by lead single “La Mia Parte Intollerante,” which entered the top 20 March 27. “We expect the second single, ‘Torna Catalessi,’ to explode this summer,” Sala predicts.

Sony ATV Italy director Chuck Rolando signed Caparezza (whose real name is Michele Salvemini) to a publishing deal in 1999. “He has this ability to perform verbal acrobatics,” Rolando reflects. “I sometimes think rap lyricists should be given the same credit as guitar wizards.”

However, Caparezza’s lyrical skills have a downside, Sala adds. “Unfortunately,” he concedes, “his emphasis on Italian wordplay is such that he isn’t really an item for export. Nevertheless, he’s perfect for the Virgin roster here.”
—Mark Worden