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DOG DAY AFTERNOON
RCA Barking Up Retail, Radio's Tree
His Master's Voice just got louder.

RCA Records is proving its retail bite will be every bit as good as its bark as it prepares for a bow-wow 2002. Nipper's litter includes breaking new acts The Calling, The Strokes and Trik Turner, along with new releases by best-sellers Natalie Imbruglia, Christina Aguilera, Vertical Horizon, Foo Fighters, David Gray and Eve 6. In addition, there's a new album from Aida star Heather Headley and an Elvis Presley #1 hits collection slated for the fall.

Label President Jack Rovner says Nipper's definitely in heat; he just wishes he could pry the pooch from his ankle. "I couldn't be more positive about RCA's outlook for 2002," he enthuses.

The Calling and The Strokes have begun the new year just as they ended the old one—en fuego. Their respective albums, Camino Palmero and Is This It, are about to go Platinum and Gold, respectively, thanks to a combination of APM and PoMo airplay, as well as MTV action on the singles, "Wherever You Will Go" (Top 10 at MTV and Top 5 at TRL) and "Last Nite."

The Calling are showing sales jumps at Best Buy, Wherehouse and Musicland. The group launches a headlining tour next month, after an appearance on Conan O'Brien last week, a network Olympic special this week and upcoming performances on Jay Leno and Rosie O'Donnell.

"The Calling record continues to be on fire," Rovner raves. "We're nearing a million shipped."

Critics' darlings The Strokes earned several nods in year-end polls, including Album of the Year in both Time and Entertainment Weekly. "Last Nite" has garnered extensive exposure at such PoMo heavies as WBCN, KROQ, 91X, KITS and WXRK. They're slated to appear on Saturday Night Live this weekend and on MTV's 020202 special on Feb. 2.

Says Rovner: "We've sold almost a million copies of the album around the world. The first track continues to climb. As soon as this U.S. tour is over, they're off to Japan and then Europe, where the shows are completely sold out."

Another new Nipper act, Phoenix-based rap-rockers Trik Turner, are off to a strong start with the first single, "Friends and Family," from their self-titled label bow, which has been receiving airplay on KEDJ in their hometown since last year. The track has already garnered 600 spins even before its add date this week. The album comes out Feb. 27.

"We've been working on The Calling and The Strokes records for the last six months, while we've been setting up Trik and Natalie Imbruglia, but those two went to another level over the holidays," says Rovner. "Going into the new year, all these records have real traction."

Aussie diva Imbruglia's new single, "Wrong Impression," has just gone to radio, the first track from her eagerly awaited new album White Lilies Island, which streets March 5.

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