NO SECRET: Built to Spill is nearing completion of a studio follow-up to its acclaimed 1999 album, Keep It Like a Secret. The trio is working once again with producer Phil Ek, who also helmed Secret and last year's Live.
METAL MADMAN: Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl is exploring the dark side with a new death metal project called Probot, according to MTV. The former Nirvana drummer has recruited metalheads such as Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister, Slayer's Tomo Araya, and King Diamond.
PEACE OFFERING: Spacy Manchester, England, trio the Doves are working on at least six new songs in a studio in Liverpool. Drummer Andy Williams says the group hopes to record two or three songs before kicking off its first ever U.S. tour later in February in support of last year's Lost Souls.
MYSTERY BAND: New York hard-rock act Dope announced that it will enter a recording studio this month, with a new lineup, to record a follow-up to 1999's Felons and Revolutionaries. Guitarist Tripp Edsel, who jumped ship to Statix-X, was replaced by a guitarist known only as "The Virus," while a new drummer, replacing departed Preston Nash, is a secret, according to the band.
NOT DEAD YET: Live has nearly completed work on a new album, which is not yet titled. The follow-up to 1999's The Distance to Here was recorded in the Los Angeles home of the band's new producer Alain Johannes, who produced Chris Cornell's solo album.
NO MORE REPAIRS: Folk-rocker Shawn Colvin has completed work on Whole New You, her first album of original material since 1996's Grammy-winning A Few Small Repairs. Colvin co-wrote most of the album with longtime producer John Leventhal, and Edie Brickell resurfaced to help pen "Roger Wilco." The album's due March 27 from Columbia Records.
NEW JIVE SINGER: Newcomer Syleena Johnson will release her debut album, Chapter 1: Love, Pain, & Forgiveness, on April 17 on Jive Records. The 24-year-old singer co-wrote all the songs, and R. Kelly produced and helped write the album's first single, "I Am Your Woman," which hits radio Feb. 12.
OUT WITH THE OLD: Moby won't be helping British rock act New Order with its first album since 1993, but the Chemical Brothers will help on one song, according to British music magazine NME. The LP, which the band says will be more guitar-based, is expected this fall.
SPY ON ME: British act Travis is continuing work with Nigel Godrich in Los Angeles on its follow-up to last year's The Man Who, and the group says it will put a webcam in the studio to allow fans to watch the process on travisonline.com. The new LP, due this summer, will most likely include a cover of Bob Dylan's "You're a Big Girl Now."
XZIBITIONIST: Rapper Xzibit, on tour in Europe with Eminem, plans to release a new album with a new group on a new label. The group Golden State Project (with Ras Kas and Saafir) aims to release The Coast Is Clear on Xzibit's own Loud Records imprint, Open Bar Entertainment.
HATFIELD EXPECTING: Juliana Hatfield regrouped with old band the Blake Babies last year to cut a new record. God Bless the Blake Babies, a 12-song LP, is due March 6 on Zoe Records.
ENTIENDES?: New York knob-twister Khan will have a new album for Matador Records, titled No Comprendo, though a release date has not yet been set. Guesting on the album are explosive bluesman Jon Spencer, Twin Peaks singer Julee Cruise, and Cramps guitarist Kid Congo Powers. "It kind of sounds like Canned Heat on acid," Khan says.
ALTERNA-MAC: The Los Angeles Times reports that ex-Beatles bassist Paul McCartney will set aside poetry and painting to work in a recording studio this month. Producer David Kahne, who's worked with Fishbone and Sugar Ray — is reportedly joining him.
QUICK HITS: Unofficial buzz continues on an upcoming Bruce Springsteen double-CD live album, with April 3 named as a possible release date. Sarah McLachlan, who took a break from the music industry in 1999, is gearing up to head back to the studio, her manager told MTV. Though Lars Ulrich said the new Metallica album will sound different, producer Bob Rock — who's worked with the band since 1991 — is reportedly returning. Royce the 5'9", who rapped with Eminem on "Scary Movies" for the Scary Movie soundtrack, has signed a deal with Columbia and will enter the studio this month. The Flaming Lips, who received widespread acclaim for 1999's The Soft Bulletin, are set to enter a New York studio with producer Dave Fridmann — but they may not come out until 2002.