Weekly US music releases: Peter Gabriel and Jamie Cullum cover tunes, and 'Alice in Wonderland'

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The Independent Culture

On March 2 two Alice in Wonderland soundtracks, plus a title from Peter Gabriel surfaces after seven years with a backscratching idea, Jamie Cullum returns after only four, and ABBA's Benny Andersson.

Peter Gabriel, Scratch My Back
On Gabriel's first studio album in seven years, he covers songs by artists such as Radiohead and Paul Simon, who will in turn record his music on an upcoming collection called I'll Scratch Yours. The 12 tracks are the first of a series of "song exchanges" with artists reinterpreting one another's music, including Lou Reed's "The Power of the Heart" and David Bowie's "Heroes." He performs with a 54-piece orchestra - no guitar or drums - which he will take on the road for The New Blood tour, a limited engagement at select venues in Europe and North America. The collection was released in the UK/Europe February 16 on Virgin Records.

Benny Andersson Band, Story of a Heart
Led by the co-founder of ABBA, the 16 musicians in the Benny Andersson Band have played an eclectic combination of genres for 20 years, from swing and polka to Bach and folk. With this first US release on Decca, highlights of previous albums are included along with new material and ABBA-esque pop tunes, written by Benny and former bandmate Björn Ulvaeus, sung by Sweden's Helen Sjöholm and Tommy Körberg.

Jamie Cullum, The Pursuit
After four years, Verve releases a much anticipated album from this jazz-pop artist featuring 14 songs that range from Cole Porter standards and Broadway ballads to dance tracks and Jamie Cullum originals. The singer-songwriter's live performances are renowned for also mixing his hits with songs by The White Stripes and Massive Attack. Just announced, the multi-instrumentalist will launch a jazz-related radio show on BBC2, April 6. His tour heads to North America, starting in New York on March 2, moving onto Asia in April, then the UK and Europe through August.

Various artists, Almost Alice
One of two soundtracks for Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp and Ann Hathaway, opening March 5, features the first single, Avril Lavigne's "Alice," Robert Smith of The Cure takes a twist on the Disney tune "Very Good Advice" from the 1951 animated film version, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals do Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" and "Fell Down a Hole" by Wolfmother. Franz Ferdinand performs "The Lobster Quadrille," written by Alice author Lewis Carroll.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Alice in Wonderland
Scored by composer Danny Elfman who has composed dozens of soundtracks from Spider-Man to Terminator Salvation, and consistently works with Tim Burton on films, including Batman, Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd. Formerly with the band Oingo Boingo, Elfman wrote the themes for The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives.
Both albums are released on Disney Records.

Other releases:
- John Hiatt, The Open Road (New West); the singer songwriter's 19th studio album
- Groove Armada, Black Light (Om); alt/electronic act, featuring vocalist Bryan Ferry
- Dee Dee Bridgewater, Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee;a tribute to Billie Holiday who Bridgewater successfully portrayed on stage in Lady Day.