The full merchandise selection.

The trailer for the new album (Beware And Be Grateful) by the arty Chicago quartet, Maps & Atlases is intriguing. Is this the shape of record promotions to come- highlighting the band’s postmodern attitude rather than pushing the actual music?

A brief snippet of one of the tracks (Remote And Dark Years) can be heard at the end, but most is taken up with a curious monologue by a guy who looks the worse for wear.

He tells of being witness to a car on fire on a bridge and “whoever was inside” jumping into the river below he describes the flames as a  “deep dark, like orange color – like a rotten pumpkin”  and being surprised that there was no news coverage of the event.

Did he witness aliens? Should we open an X-file? What does this tell us about a pop band?

If I were to attempt a deconstruction I would say that Maps & Atlases are presenting their music as existing in a zone beyond what the guy calls the “preset garbage” that you hear on the radio – in a roundabout way they  are telling us to trust own ears and not wait for some media endorsement.

The album is officially released by Fat Cat records on April 16th in the UK and one day later in the US – I have a review copy so have added my voice to the more traditional promotion at Whisperin’ & Hollerin’; the trailer is here:

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