Music: Sleeve Notes

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The Independent Culture
From 29 August, Ant And Dec's SMTV://Live will replace The Chart Show. It's bad news for the older music lover who used Saturday morning's Chart Show to brush up on essential popular culture. The good news, however, is the lively northern duo plan to continue part of The Chart Show's unique features, with an hour of new and alternative music in the same time slot.

Mention of the older generation brings to mind news of The Boss. Bruce Springsteen is about to release a new single, announced in an easy-to- miss back-cover ad in Billboard last month. A six-CD box set of unreleased material and an album "is clearly in the pipeline," reports Backstreets magazine, the Brucie bible. Known for his prolific writing, Springsteen has penned and recorded hundreds of songs that have never appeared on his studio releases.

REM are set to enter a Bill-Berry-less era, with the release of an 11th album and the first without the former drummer who quit last year. "The new record is kinda out there," said Peter Buck, REM guitarist in a internet chat room. The album is slated to feature a modern twist with a number of ambient tracks. In addition to experimenting with percussive instruments and offbeat sounds in the studio, members of the Atlanta Symphony were brought in to add strings to a few tracks.

It has been confirmed that George Michael's long-awaited Trojan Souls project will eventually be released. The project began in 1991 and has had Michael recording new songs with artists such as Aretha Franklin, but progress was halted by Michael's legal problems with Sony. The singer's cousin Andreas Georgiou has said recording is 50 per cent complete and the album should appear "early in the next millenium".