This week on the music beat

By Rob Brunner
Updated June 15, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

— PLANET AHEAD As most fans of Rushmore know, the cult film’s star Jason Schwartzman drummed in a band called Phantom Planet, which released an unheralded album on Geffen in 1998. It turns out Phantom Planet are still around and have a still-untitled album due this fall on Epic. Produced by Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake, the hooky alt-pop disc is a major artistic step forward. Spike Jonze, who’s married to Schwartzman’s cousin Sofia Coppola, is already on board to direct a video for the first single. ”We’re thinking ‘classic, sexy Roxy Music, Rolling Stones, All-Star Converse one-stars,”’ says Schwartzman, who’s currently shooting Spun with Mickey Rourke. ”That’s my vibe right now.” So why is he still pounding skins when his acting career is taking off? ”Rock is f — -ing awesome,” he says. ”If you can do both, why not?” Max Fischer couldn’t have put it any better.

— PLAY IT AGAIN When Virgin Nashville folded in February, rising country star Chris Cagle had a new debut album, a top 20 hit, and a cloudy future. ”It was scary,” he says. ”I didn’t know what’d happen.” What did happen was unexpected: Recognizing Cagle’s potential, Capitol Nashville — which inherited Virgin’s roster — decided to rerelease Play It Loud. The CD, due June 19, will include new art, two more songs, and CD-ROM video footage. (The original, which sold some 65,000 copies, has been discontinued.) How will core Cagle-ites who already own it feel? ”Hopefully, if they’re so core they’ll buy it again,” says senior VP of marketing Fletcher Foster. Cagle’s not worried: ”This’ll probably be a little more expensive, but there’s more to it. I think they’ll buy it. I really do.” Hey, maybe Garth should try reissuing that Chris Gaines thing.

— BACK TO THE FUTURE Nearly 20 years ago, piano giant Herbie Hancock and producer Bill Laswell created the jazz-hop landmark Future Shock and its hit, ”Rockit.” Now they’ve reteamed for September’s Future 2 Future, featuring guests like electronic-music pioneer Carl Craig and singer Chaka Khan. The sound fuses modern beats with Hancock’s chops. ”Bill told me about young musicians who’ve responded to my ’70s records,” says Hancock. ”He thought it’d be interesting to hear me respond to them and see where it leads.” Hmm…to the future?