By Rob Brunner
Updated January 23, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

MARILYN HANSON? How will Marilyn Manson, America’s foremost shock rocker, top his aptly named ’96 hit album, Antichrist Superstar? By enlisting the production team behind ’97’s most insidiously cheerful teeny-pop single, of course. Best known for their work on Hanson’s ”MMMBop” and ingenious sampling on Beck’s Odelay and the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, the Dust Brothers certainly seem an unlikely pair to produce Manson’s new testament. Still, the unholy alliance promises to broaden his all-too-predictable Goth-metal sound. Should fans expect outlandish samples a la Odelay? ”Wackiness is good, I think, so there will be some wackiness,” says Dust Brother John King. But the biggest surprise: ”Expect sophisticated songwriting,” King says, courtesy, in part, of Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, who’s helping Manson develop his songs. The as-yet-untitled album should be in stores by early fall.

BUSS BOYS Kiss’ reunited original lineup donned their famous face paint and platform boots for a hugely successful tour in 1996-97, but they haven’t recorded together since before the Hanson boys were born. Now, 18 years after their last studio album, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss have begun work on a new record, Psycho Circus, due this summer. Will it be a return to their Alive! glory days or just another collection of the dead-on-arrival metal pop that thinned the ranks of the Kiss Army in the ’80s? ”It’s going to be very much a classic album,” says Stanley. ”Destroyer comes to mind immediately. That’s what I want this album to be. That was 22 years ago, and nobody complains about hearing ‘Detroit Rock City’ or ‘God of Thunder’ now.” But what about skeptics who doubt the band can recapture its ’70s hotter-than-hell status? ”We are Kiss, and we’re back,” he says. ”Join us…[long pause]or go down.”