Short (but since when was size an issue) stories of Blur, Madness and Lee Hazlewood...

Blur have confirmed the b-sides of forthcoming single ‘Tender’, which is released on March 1. The new Blur songs are ‘Swamp Song’, ‘Mellow Jam’ and ‘French Song’. None of the B-sides, which are available across four formats, will be on the new album. The enhanced CD version of the single features a CD-ROM of the video for ‘Song 2’, from the band’s most recent album, ‘Blur’. Further details of ’13’, which was produced by William Orbit, will be announced shortly.

WU-TANG CLAN‘s Ol’ Dirty Bastard has pleaded not guilty to felony charges in two separate death threat cases in Los Angeles County Superior Courts last week (January 4). ODB, aka Russell Tyrone Jones, appeared at Santa Monica Superior Court on a charge of threatening to kill security guards at the House of Blues nightclub in LA on September 16. He appeared at Compton Superior Court later the same day where he was charged with threatening to kill his former girlfriend on November 5. The rapper is due back in court for both charges next month.

Smells Like Records, the label run by Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, is reissuing a number of LPs by Lee Hazlewood, legendary ’60s psychedelic country and ’70s, who wrote or produced songs for the likes of Duane Eddy, Nancy Sinatra, Waylon Jennings and Dean Martin. It will be the first time these Hazlewood albums will have been available on CD. The first reissue is ‘Cowboy In Sweden’ in April. The label is also releasing the first new Hazlewood record in almost 20 years later this year.

Subpop are to re-release Nirvana‘s first album ‘Bleach’ as a limited-edition tenth anniversary copy. The album, which cost just $600 to record in 1989, paved the way for the success of the band, who went on to superstardom with the release of ‘Nevermind’ in 1991 through Subpop/Geffen. ‘Bleach’ didn’t sell well when first released over here, but charted when it was first rereleased in 1992.

NORMAN COOK has co-written and produced the new single from p-funk legend Bootsy Collins. ‘Party Lick-A-Ble’s’ is released on January 25 through WEA on 12″ and CD and is taken from Bootsy‘s 1997 album ‘Fresh Outta ‘P’ University’. Norman Cook co-wrote the original album version but has remixed it for the new single.

SMASHING PUMPKINS frontman Billy Corgan has already written 14 songs for the follow-up to their 1998 album ‘Adore’. And insiders say that Corgan is “looking to turn up the guitars” and return to a more rock-based approach after disappointing sales of ‘Adore’. The Pumpkins are recording tracks with producer Flood, who worked with the band on their 1995 album ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’, Corgan told Rolling Stone magazine. Since the release of ‘Adore’, Corgan has worked on Hole’s ‘Celebrity Skin’ album and on the early stages of Marilyn Manson’s ‘Mechanical Animals’, both released in 1998. The Smashing Pumpkins‘ last single, ‘Perfect’, taken from ‘Adore’, was released in September 1998.

MADNESS, who celebrate their 20th anniversary this year – their first single ‘The Prince’ was released on Two Tone Records in 1979 – release a live album called ‘Universal Madness’, recorded in Los Angeles, later this year on Goldenvoice records. Madness go into the studio in February with long-time producers Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley to start work on a new Madness album. Meanwhile, Virgin records plans to release a boxed set of all the Madness albums in July.