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Maps & Atlases — Lightlessness Is Nothing New (June 1st, 2018) ••• Maps and Atlases’ new album Lightlessness Is Nothing New is a celebration of our magnificent, foolhardy pursuits to find love, happiness, and control in a world defined by mystery, hardship, and, worst of all, brevity. In the brooding yet playful vein of The Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel, Maps embraces the paradox of what it is to be human — constantly searching and, forever unsatiated, returning again and again with everlasting hope to the ever~darkening fray.
Formed: Fall 2004
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Album release: Jun 1, 2018
Record Label: Barsuk Records / Fat Cat Records (UK, Europe)
01 The Fear 3:13
02 Fall Apart 3:53
03 Ringing Bell 3:50
04 Violet Threaded 3:39
05 Fog And The Fall 3:11
06 Learn How To Swim 3:51
07 Super Bowl Sunday 3:06
08 War Dreams 3:56
09 4/25 4:37
10 Wrong Kind Of Magic 4:47
℗ 2018 Barsuk Records
••• Erin Elders, Shiraz Dada, Chris Hainey, Dave Davison
••• It’s been a quiet few years for Maps & Atlases. After touring in support of their second album, 2012’s Beware and Be Grateful, the Chicago band wrapped that touring cycle and took a much needed break. But what started as a way for the band members to rest, and focus on other creative projects, after a while Maps & Atlases all but retreated from view. Vocalist~guitarist Dave Davison began playing solo, drummer Chris Hainley focused on photography, bassist Shiraz Dada recorded other bands, and guitarist Erin Elders started Wedding Dress, a band that would become his priority, one that contributed to him leaving Maps & Atlases in 2015. The band wasn’t dead, but from the outside, it didn’t look like there were any signs of life either.
••• “There had to be a purpose to it beyond momentum,” said Davison, explaining why the band first took a pause. “Even from the very beginning, we always said we only wanted to record and play music because we feel like we want to express something and do something unique.” After years of refining their experimental, folk~based sound, the band had taken their music to its logical conclusion. With Davison working on his own solo music, it wasn’t long before he wanted to bring in other musicians to help him build upon his vision. And it only made sense that the first people he asked were his bandmates in Maps & Atlases.
••• “I thought Chris would do a good job on this, so I asked him to come play on it,” said Davison of the songs he was writing. “And that was when I realized that maybe this doesn’t need be a solo release. I like playing with Chris and Shiraz, and I’m asking them to play stuff on it, so I don’t know why it would be a solo record.” ••• Although Maps & Atlases never officially broke up, the band had to splinter apart for them to remember what brought them together in the first place. “That break makes you realize how much all your best stories and memories have taken place with these people,” said Davison. And once the members of Maps & Atlases reconnected, they had discovered the reason for the band to exist.
••• The product of their work is Lightlessness Is Nothing New, Maps & Altases' third album, and first new release in six years. The lead single, “Fall Apart,” shows Maps & Atlases forging ahead as if they were a brand new band, allowing themselves to transpose Davison’s programmed drums into an out~and~out funk track. On “Fall Apart,” Maps & Atlases more freely embrace modern pop production and songwriting devices, no longer shy about jumping into a chorus within the first 30 seconds of a song while still leaving their mark on it.
••• If there needed to be a valid reason for Maps & Atlases to exist, Davison had found one, using the band as a way to help him make peace with his father’s death. While Lightlessness Is Nothing New isn’t mired in death, Davison’s lyrics focus on the moments that aren’t easily defined as being good or bad. “It’s not some binary thing,” he said. “This is not the darkness of my experience; Lightlessness is somewhere in between. It’s somewhere that’s not light or dark, not transparent or opaque.”
••• That gray area is what Davison finds himself exploring on “Fall Apart,” as he ponders whether it’s better to come to terms with losing or pretending it never went away. “Thematically, I think the song represents where the album is coming from as a whole,” said Davison. But even then, he doesn’t want Lightlessness to come off as pretentious, as if he happened upon some universal truth and is now sharing it with you. “The process of making this album has been a meditation on my experiences, and it’s given me a different perspective on them,” he said. “Though I don’t know if I have any more answers than anybody else.” • https://noisey.vice.com/
••• ‘Fall Apart’ shows Maps & Atlases forging ahead as if they were a brand~new band, allowing themselves to transpose [frontman] Dave Davison’s programmed drums into an out~and~out funk track. — Noisey
••• It’s true! After a long hiatus, the legendary indie rockers, Maps & Atlases are back with an electric new single, “Fall Apart” and an upcoming album called Lightlessness Is Nothing New due out June 1st. The Chicago~trio’s track, the latest release since 2012’s fantastic album Beware And Be Grateful, premiered alongside an interview on Noisey with vocalist~guitarist Dave Davison. In the band’s time apart, Davison faced the unexpected loss of his best friend, his father. In reckoning with his overwhelming grief, he wrestled with the emotional concepts of light and dark — and the bridge between them. “It’s not some binary thing. This is not the darkness of my experience; Lightlessness is somewhere in between. It’s somewhere that’s not light or dark, not transparent or opaque,” he says.
••• “Thematically, I think [Fall Apart] represents where the album is coming from as a whole,” said Davison. “The process of making this album has been a meditation on my experiences, and it’s given me a different perspective on them — though I don’t know if I have any more answers than anybody else.” This new record is a celebration of our magnificent, foolhardy pursuits to find love, happiness, and control in a world defined by mystery, hardship, and, worst of all, brevity.
••• Maps & Atlases will tour the US this summer with Prism Tats, be sure to catch their killer live show. Find a full list of dates below, including their set on the Barsuk~curated stage at Upstream Music Festival in Seattle, WA from June 1st through 3rd.
About Maps & Atlases
••• Eccentric indie rock band Maps & Atlases feature Erin Elders (guitar), Shiraz Dada (bass), Chris Hainey (drums), and Dave Davison (guitar/vocals). Although they are based in Chicago, the members of Maps & Atlases prefer to align themselves with the term they define as “new regionalism.” Dada is actually the only one who calls Chicago home. Hainey hails from Texas, whereas Elders has soaked up the sun in Maui. Davison had a humble Midwestern upbringing in Indiana. The foursome initially met at a Chicago art school in 2004, combining their individual interests in art, literature, film, and music for an enigmatic post~rock~inspired sound. Maps & Atlases self~released their debut EP, Tree, Swallows, Houses, in early 2006. After signing to Barsuk, the group released its first full~length, Perch Patchwork, in 2010. The Living Decorations EP arrived in 2011, followed by the group’s full~length sophomore outing, Beware and Be Grateful in 2012. ~ MacKenzie Wilson
••• Dave Davison’s voice — a seasoned croon continually abandoned for a controlled yet penetrating howl — betrays the range of emotions he has faced in the six years since the band’s last release. In 2012, just before the launch of the acclaimed Beware and Be Grateful, Davison unexpectedly lost his father, his best friend. Grief took the form of inquiry: How can you reckon with the sudden death of someone whom, your entire life, was right beside you? How can you go on living in the unbridgeable gulf between the light and the dark, between the dark and the light? The title of Maps and Atlases’ new album, Lightlessness Is Nothing New, serves to foreshadow an emotionally and musically dynamic collection of songs that contemplates the jolt of loss and the strain of longing to music that, against our better judgment, makes us want to dance.
••• A breathless rush of music that stays remarkably anchored without careening too far off course. — NPR
••• Diverse and accessible. — Pitchfork
••• Tuneful songcraft with tight, dense rhythms. — Rolling Stone
••• Recalls Talking Heads and TV on the Radio, lightening any dark subject matter with twitchy bursts of color. — Spin
••• One of the tightest, most interesting musical acts going. — AV Club
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