Richard Goes Solo?

News has leaked that VERVE frontman Richard Ashcroft has been recording solo tracks at a UK studio. There has been no official announcement from the band, but Verve management told NME to expect news sometime in the new year. Whether this spells the end of the band is anyone's guess, but things in the Verve camp have been shaky at best lately -- guitarist Nick McCabe quit "touring" with the band halfway through 1998, and the band's tour manager recently said that 1998's festival shows were to be the band's last. Of course we'll keep you up to date as news unfolds.

Sleeper Split

NME is confirming this afternoon that SLEEPER have split up. Just last week, the band were freed of their contract with RCA Records, and were apparantly waiting for the legalities of the contract break to announce their dissolution. Louise Wener and Sleeper drummer Andy Maclure are readying a new band, while guitarist Jon Stewart has relocated to L.A. and is currently playing in a band called UFO BRO.

Charlatans Hit the Studio

THE CHARLATANS are in the studio working on their follow-up to "Tellin' Stories". The new album is targeted for a summer '99 release, and it appears that the band will not be playing any live shows until the new record comes out.

Blur Ink A Release Date

BLUR's new album, "13" is set to be released in the U.S. on March 23. The lead single from the album, "Tender", has been touted as among the best that the band has ever recorded.

XTC Make A Comeback

XTC are set to release their first new albums in nearly a decade in 1999. "Apple Venus Volume One" is set for a February 16 release. The album features largely acoustic and orchestral material. It is set to be followed later in the year with (yes, you guessed it) "Apple Venus Volume Two", a more pop-oriented record.

Happy Holidays From Excellent

Excellent Online wishes you a VERY happy holiday season and a fabulous New Year. Stay tuned for our 1998 Wrap-Up, you'll be seeing it soon. In the meantime, go shut the computer off, eat some turkey, and say "hi" to the loved ones for us...

Happy Mondays Reform!

Get those baggy trousers out of the mothballs, because the HAPPY MONDAYS are reforming!!!! Shaun Ryder has announced his intentions of putting the band back together for a 1999 tour. Just exactly WHO will be in this new incarnation of the Mondays has yet to be decided, but Ryder has made it clear that he's in the market for a new lead guitarist and a new keyboard player. As for Bez...?

Elastica Split

With good news comes a dose of bad. NME is reporting this week that they have confirmation on the demise of ELASTICA. Rumours of the split have dogged the band all year -- Donna Matthews has been involved with a new group, while sources say that Justine and Donna havn't spoken to one another all year. NME revealed this week that one of their writers heard straight from Justine that the band were finished.


All Saints Split

It looked as though it was all over this week for pop sensations ALL SAINTS. (Awwww...) It appeared that Saint Nic (she's the one engaged to ROBBIE WILLIAMS, those of you with scorecards) had left the group after missing some recent key appearances with the band. Instead, a press statement was issued contradicting the split, saying that the band was planning some time apart over the holidays to sort everything out. You can cancel the crisis hotlines, at least for now...

Wrekked Train Leaves Lo-Fi All Stars

We've got yet another casualty before the end of the year: Just as their debut album scored a US release date, the LO FIDELITY ALL STARS have split with their vocalist, Wrekked Train. The rest of the band intend to carry on under the Lo-Fi name, just with a different vocalist.