After releasing its final album for Sub Pop back in 2007, Band of Horses has seemingly run a different direction both in sound and, perhaps, scope. The former indie rock troupe is now only sorta-not-really-indie now, signed to a joint venture between Fat Possum/Brown/Columbia for its next effort "Infinite Arms," a title I'm loving.
What fans may not be loving, or may feel unfamiliar with, is the first song revealed for that album, "Compliments." With those unrelenting, sunny harmonies, the upbeat BPM, and almost precious lyrical themes (as opposed to precocious, which I dare say plagued frontman Ben Bridwell in the first two albums), it sounds like a bit of a different band. It's a good song, but, man, is this a Death Cab for Cutie track? Perhaps it's due, too, to the change in backing personnel...
The accompanying music video, which can also be seen right here in a larger version, is a complimentary download (see what I did there?) now on the band's website. It's features: a kaleidescopic, eye-vortex of nature stills, likely taken in the mountains of the band's homestead in the Carolinas. When Bridwell sings of a raven, there's a bird; a line on a yellow dog, you guessed it, a yellow dog. It's pretty, but not peaceful, which is perhaps indicative of the album to come.
In a statement, "The songs on 'Infinite Arms' project the essence of the different locales across America... the rich musical heritage of Muscle Shoals, Ala., the sublime beauty of Asheville [N.C.'s] Blue Ridge Mountains, the glamorous Hollywood Hills and the vast Mojave desert..."
Fat Possum has one, fine current and formers stable off artists, including personal faves AA Bondy, the late Jay Reatard, Dinosaur Jr., Andrew Bird and, as the Good Lord would have it, Lissie, who I mentioned yesterday -- along with a handful of American greats like Townes Van Zandt and Al Green. We get that.
But what is the appeal at Columbia that Sub Pop -- who was able to rope in licensing deals for tracks like "Funeral" -- didn't get? Radio? Well, this'll be fun to match to watch.
"Infinite Arms" is produced by the band, along with help from Phil Ek. The complete group is now Bridwell, Creighton Barrett, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey and Bill Reynolds. Below is the tracklist to the album, and below that, tour dates (some with Pearl Jam), with more TBA.
April Fools Bonus: Remember when "Pitchfork" said Band Of Horses left Sub Pop after a fight over Bridwell's gnarly whiskers? Good times. Some chicks still love beards...
4) Blue Beard
5) On My Way Back Home
6) Infinite Arms
8) Evening Kitchen
10) For Annabelle
11) NW Apt.
April 8th - Paris, France - La Fleche D'or
April 9th - Brussels, Belgium - Orangerie
April 10th - Rotterdam, Netherlands- Motel Mozaique, Schouwburg
April 12th - London, UK - Koko
April 14th - Koln, Germany - Kulturkirche
April 16th - Oslo, Norway - Rockefeller
April 17th - Gothenburg, Sweden - Tradgarn
April 18th - Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega
April 23rd - Raleigh, NC - Walnut Creek Amphitheater (with Widespread Panic)
April 24th - Raleigh, NC - Walnut Creek Amphitheater (with Widespread Panic)
April 26th - Athens, GA - 40 Watt
April 28th - Miami, FL - Fillmore
April 29th - Orlando, FL - House of Blues
May 1st - New Orleans, LA - Jazzfest
May 2nd - Memphis, TN - Beale St. Music Festival
May 3rd - Kansas City, MO -Sprint Center (with Pearl Jam)
May 4th - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center (with Pearl Jam)
May 6th - Columbus, OH - Nationwide Arena (with Pearl Jam)
May 7th - Noblesville, IN - Verizon Wireless Center (with Pearl Jam)
May 9th - Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena (with Pearl Jam)
May 10th - Buffalo, NY - HSBC Arena (with Pearl Jam)
May 13th - Washington, DC - Verizon Center (with Pearl Jam)
May 15th - Hartford, CT - XL Center (with Pearl Jam)
May 17th - Boston, MA - TD Garden (with Pearl Jam)
May 21st - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden (with Pearl Jam)
May 27th - Davis, CA - UC Davis Freeborn Hall
May 30th - Bend, OR - Les Schwab Amphitheater (with She & Him)
May 31st - George, WA - Sasquatch Festival