The band released a teaser trailer for the album, featuring the track “Remote And Dark Years,” available at www.mapsandatlases.org. The band is also heading to South By Southwest in Austin, TX, and have just announced a string of Midwest dates before and after the festival as well as dates in Europe and the UK in April. A full headlining US tour starting in May will be announced shortly.
The album – which follows the Chicago-based band’s acclaimed 2010 debut, Perch Patchwork – was recorded last year in a series of week-long sessions at Omaha’s ARC Studios with producer Jason Cupp (Nurses, Good Old War) once again behind the board.
As ever, Maps & Atlases defy easy categorization, choosing to walk their own incomparable musical path. Beware and Be Grateful sees M&A’s trademark experimentalism morphing to suit a more direct – though no less beguiling – songcraft. Fueled by a panoply of sonic influences, the album abounds with novel invention, spanning hymnal harmonies, percolating rhythms, even, in the case of centerpiece track, “Silver Self,” a full-on guitar solo (though to be fair, it’s unlike any solo previously committed to wax). Songs like “Remote And Dark Years” and “Fever” are gloriously liquid and lyrical, channeling M&A’s tightly constructed creativity into a genuinely distinctive brand of boundary-busting, asymmetrical pop. Self-assured and astonishingly ambitious, Beware and Be Grateful is Maps & Atlases’ finest, most fully-realized collection to date.
Since their formation in 2004, Maps & Atlases have captured the indie imagination with their extraordinarily artful amalgamation of polyrhythmic beats, elaborate melodies, and post-rock ingenuity. The band toured hard from the get-go, honing their kinetic time signatures and inventive energy through countless live shows as both headliner and alongside such artists as Broken Bells, Frightened Rabbit, Circa Survive, Cults, and RX Bandits. A major North American tour in support of Beware and Be Grateful will be announced shortly.
Maps & Atlases have also drawn extensive applause throughout their career, as Filter declared, “Maps & Atlases make technical virtuosity fun,” while American Songwriter praised Perch Patchwork as a “beautifully oddball symphony…equal parts lo-fi and hi-tech.” “Behind humble vocals and verbal conundrums,” wrote the New York Times’ Jon Pareles, “(Maps & Atlases’) music might set up shifty progressive-rock counterpoint, harken back to late-1960s pop or turn into a percussion workout.” SPIN hailed Perch Patchwork for its “intricately intertwined fretwork and drumming,” noting, “genre tags seem pretty inadequate.” “A 12-track collection of wonderful variation,” agreed Paste, “at some points it’s shoegaze-y and intricate, at others upbeat and sunny, and sometimes it’s just dripping with sardonic malice.”
Maps & Atlases On Tour
3/8 Bloomington, IN – The Bishop
3/9 Nashville, TN – The Mercy
3/10 New Orleans, LA – Foburg Festival
3/14 – 3/17 Austin, TX – SXSW 2012
3/18 Dallas, TX – Bro Fest
3/19 Hot Springs, AR – Valley of the Vapors Festival
3/22 Memphis, TN – Fareveller Festival
3/31 Bethelem, PA – NOWADAYS Festival
4/16 Bristol, UK – Cooler
4/17 London, UK – Garage
4/18 Manchester, UK – Night and Day
4/19 Glasgow, UK – Nice n Sleazys
4/20 Leeds, UK – Brudenell
4/22 Brussels, Belgium – Botanique
4/23 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso
4/24 Cologne, Germany – Gebaude 9
4/25 Hamburg, Germany – haus III&70
4/26 Berlin, Germany – Bi Nuu
4/27 Frankfurt, Germany – Das Bett
4/28 Paris, France – Fleche D’or
Maps & Atlases Beware and Be Grateful Tracklisting:
1. Old & Gray