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Hear & Now

This week on the music beat

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RIVERS’ EDGE Why are Weezer asking radio stations not to play their fourth album, Maladroit? It’s simple: The band sent tracks to the press and radio and posted MP3s on their website, but they still haven’t submitted the CD to their label, Interscope’s Geffen. Says frontman Rivers Cuomo: ”They were very upset and said we have to stop. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, so I didn’t really have a choice.” Cuomo says the self-managed Weezer ”started to veer off into outer space” last year and stopped speaking to Geffen after a fight. (”They said [the CD’s demos] sounded too much like Lynyrd Skynyrd.”) With ”Dope Nose” getting radio play, Cuomo says Geffen now wants to release Maladroit, which the band ultimately recorded on their own dime. But Cuomo’s not sure he’ll give the label the masters, though he knows that could spell trouble. ”Unfortunately, they have the right to claim ownership of the tapes. It’s totally unfair.” A label rep declined to respond, except to say, ”When Rivers is ready to put out his record, Geffen is ready to put it out.”

SONGS OF SOLOMON For a label predicated on punk rock, Epitaph has been signing some improbable stage-diving candidates. First came Tom Waits, then Merle Haggard; now the label’s Fat Possum imprint is recording Solomon Burke, a founding father of soul who is often cited as Mick Jagger’s biggest vocal influence. Producer Joe Henry has the 65-year-old legend cutting tunes by Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Waits, Brian Wilson, Van Morrison, Nick Lowe, and Dan Penn. Says Costello, ”I love how Epitaph signs these [veteran] people who clearly want to still make records and not be signed up to some apology of a label.” He and wife Cait O’Riordan cowrote a stunning new ballad called ”The Judgment,” complete with ”torn in two” imagery befitting Burke’s biblical name. ”I was wondering why he’d never done a song called ‘The Judgment’ before,” says Costello. ”He’s Solomon Burke, for heaven’s sake!”