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"Winning Star Champion" online stream + Ruler performances

Winning Star Champion, the debut album from rising Seattle artist Ruler, is now streaming in its entirety at Seattle Weekly; listen here. Ruler is the project of Seattle-based singer and songwriter Matt Batey (best known for his work with Rocky Votolato and Cataldo). The band is set to tour throughout the Pacific Northwest this summer, including performances at the Upstream Festival in Seattle June 1 and at the TIMBER! Summer Music Festival in Carnation, WA July 12-14. Additional tour dates to be announced shortly. 22 May 2018

Phantogram releases new single to benefit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

In 2016, while working on what would eventually become their album Three, Phantogram's Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter were crushed when they suddenly lost Sarah's sister (and Josh's childhood friend) Becky to suicide.

Months later, returning to the studio to start picking up the pieces to finish the album, they resumed work on a song they'd begun building around samples of the classic Al Green songs "I'm Still in Love with You" and "Livin' for You" — and which the loss of Becky had imbued with new meaning for the duo. But working on the song still proved too painful, and the song was tabled.

This spring — following a lengthy healing process during which Barthel and Carter began to speak out regularly at shows and in interviews as part of their efforts to raise awareness about suicide prevention and to destigmatize mental illness — they came back to the song, and the beautiful recording stands as the latest piece of their ongoing campaign for the cause.

New original track "Someday" honors the memory of those lost to suicide, and the grief and hope carried every day by family and friends left behind; the B-side is a tribute to Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, a formative influence for the band. 18 May 2018

Barsuk to release 10th anniversary reissue of Ra Ra Riot's debut album

Barsuk Records is proud to announce a 10th Anniversary reissue of Ra Ra Riot's debut album The Rhumb Line on August 17, 2018. Originally released on August 19, 2008, The Rhumb Line was hailed as "a blissful chamber-pop breakthrough" in a 4-star Rolling Stone review (who included it in their top 40 albums of the year) and praised by Time Out New York as "classically pretty, but without getting all fussy about it."

"This has been a fun opportunity for us to consider how long we've been making music together, and how lucky we are because of that. We never want to take anything for granted, and we're so excited to revisit this record — which is still really meaningful to us — and share it again with the world," said bassist Mathieu Santos. Vocalist Wes Miles added these details about the reissue itself: "It's beautifully redesigned by our own Milo Bonacci with a second disc of unreleased gems, live tracks and demos. It's a real alternate universe Rhumb Line double LP."

In the poignant liner notes for the reissue, Santos notes, "The Rhumb Line, like most debuts, is the sound of the band becoming. Along with producer Ryan Hadlock, engineer Matt Doctor and our drummer Cameron Wisch, we spent a total of six weeks living in the studio's converted barn and trying, somehow, to compress two years into ten songs. Naturally, the specter of John [Pike]'s absence permeated every last moment of the sessions, but once we had decided to see the album through — to celebrate the songs we had developed together, to honor the dreams we had all shared — the burden, however slightly, first began to subside. For a moment, there was no baggage, no despair, no expectations — there were just some kids in the woods making music."

This 10th anniversary reissue includes the original album plus 11 additional live and demo tracks, 9 of which are previously unreleased. The album will be available digitally and as a limited-edition 2xLP set, hand numbered and limited to 2,000 copies worldwide. The limited edition vinyl will be bound in a linen-like cover with gold-foil stamping.

In addition, available for pre-sale now at RaRaRiot.com, the band will be offering an alternative version with blue-foil stamping and opaque blue and gold colored vinyl, limited to 500 copies.

In celebration of this release, the band will be playing a limited run of intimate shows at which they will perform The Rhumb Line in its entirety. Available only at RaRaRiot.com from today until May 31, VIP pre-order ticket bundles are available. The $75 package includes 1 pre-order ticket, 1 copy of the band exclusive version of the vinyl reissue and 1 t-shirt (which is a reprinting of the shirt that was sold on the original Rhumb Line tour and is available only in this bundle). General admission tickets for the shows will go on sale on June 1. 18 May 2018

Magnet premieres Ruler's "Get To You" video

Magnet Magazine premiered the video for "Get To You" today on magnetmagazine.com. Says Batey of the song, "'Get To You' is about feeling unable to connect with others, even when they are doing everything they can to get through. I think a lot of people can relate to feeling alone in a room full of people." The Dan Fromhart-directed video reinforces that feeling of isolation we all sometimes have even when surrounded by others.

Check out the clip for "Get To You," and catch Ruler at Seattle's Upstream Festival in June and Carnation, Wash.'s TIMBER! Summer Music Festival in July. In the meantime, you can preorder Winning Star Champion here. 16 May 2018

Barsuk welcomes Active Bird Community

Brooklyn, NY's Active Bird Community have signed with Barsuk, and today premiered a new song, "Spend The Night" via Stereogum. The band, who have been in the studio readying a new album, will perform next at Brooklyn's Northside Festival on June 8th at the Knitting Factory. 03 May 2018

Brooklyn Vegan premieres Ruler's "Unhindered Pace" video

Brooklyn Vegan is premiering the video for "Unhindered Pace," the latest track from rising Seattle artist Ruler's forthcoming debut album, Winning Star Champion. Watch the video here.

The video came about as Ruler songwriter and frontman Matt Batey spent months confronting his agoraphobia by forcing himself out of his apartment and onto the vertiginous span of Seattle's Aurora Bridge, where much of the video was shot. The point was to face his fear in order to overcome it, a grueling process he describes in "Unhindered Pace," singing, "I walk an unhindered pace, through the dark and dingy places/All just to see a hopeless sight, and keep a smile on my face."

Ruler is set to perform at the upcoming Upstream Festival in Seattle June 1-3, and at the TIMBER! Summer Music Festival in Carnation, WA July 12-14. Additional tour dates to be announced shortly. 18 Apr 2018

Maps & Atlases return with first album in six years

Chicago's Maps & Atlases are set to return in 2018, announcing their new album Lightlessness Is Nothing New, out June 1. The record, their first since 2012's Beware And Be Grateful, finds frontman Dave Davison reckoning with the loss of his father and the emotional distances between light and dark.

Lightlessness Is Nothing New is available for pre-order now. 04 Apr 2018

Ruler's "Cars And Houses" premieres at Gold Flake Paint

Ruler — the project of Seattle-based singer and songwriter Matt Batey — is celebrating the upcoming release of their debut full-length album Winning Star Champion with the premiere of the single "Cars and Houses" at Gold Flake Paint. Gold Flake Paint hails the track as "an evocative undertaking, the layered instrumentation sitting as a subtle but intriguing backdrop for Batey's considered vocal take, which itself has the ability to carve out varying atmospheric shapes in spite of the overall playfulness of the composition."

Winning Star Champion is due May 25. Pre-order the album and shirt here. The band is also set to perform at the upcoming Upstream Festival in Seattle June 1-3 — additional tour dates to be announced shortly. 28 Mar 2018

Billboard premieres Ruler single "Petrified"

Winning Star Champion, the debut full-length album from Ruler — the project of Seattle-based musician Matt Batey — is due May 25. In celebration of the forthcoming release, Billboard has premiered the album's first single, "Petrified".

Batey explains to Billboard that "Petrified" is "a song about being afraid of the future... I've struggled with anxiety my whole life, and I was feeling especially afraid and anxious about what the future holds." He goes on, "I don't think I'm super old or anything, but a lot of people around me in my life are kind of quitting music and making families and doing other stuff. So choosing to continue to play music at this point is another level of deliberately choosing to do this." 22 Feb 2018

Ruler's "Not Your Friend" video premieres today

Ruler, the project of Seattle-based musician Matt Batey, is premiering the new single "Not Your Friend" alongside the track's video at Under the Radar. Watch/share the video here. 06 Feb 2018

New Hibou track!

Today Hibou shares "Junipero Love", the brand new single from the forthcoming album Something Familiar, out March 2nd. "Junipero Love" was inspired by "San Junipero", the Emmy winning episode of Black Mirror's third season. "The contrast between the two worlds depicted in the episode hit very close to home for me," says Peter Michel, the force behind Hibou. "I often feel torn between a conscious state and losing a hold of my memories and who I am." Michel's ongoing battle with anxiety and depersonalization was a major factor in the songwriting behind Something Familiar as a whole, and as such he also found common ground with the anxieties of the episode's protagonist as she navigated two realities and a burgeoning relationship. With its "breezy and playful guitar lines and cozy synth swells," writes Seattle Weekly, "'Junipero Love' idyllically distills the warm dreaminess of San Junipero's digital beaches."

Stream "Junipero Love" on Spotify here. 02 Feb 2018

"Standing At The Gates" out now!

Today is the digital release day for the Nada Surf tribute album "Standing At The Gates: The Songs Of Nada Surf's Let Go"! Available on digital services today, the album features Charly Bliss doing "The Way You Wear Your Head", The Long Winters' version of "Hi-Speed Soul", and much more. Physical versions will be out March 2. Proceeds benefit the ACLU and Pablove Foundation. 02 Feb 2018

New Hibou album and video!

Big thanks to KEXP for premiering "Fall Into" from the upcoming album Something Familiar — out March 2! The band will be hitting the road in March; dates & tickets can be found here. 18 Jan 2018

Nada Surf announces "Standing At The Gates"

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of their seminal album Let Go, Nada Surf are self-releasing Standing At The Gates: The Songs of Nada Surf's Let Go, a charity album featuring a diverse list of artists covering the record. To ring in the announcement, the band has shared Ron Gallo's cover of "Happy Kid" (listen on Soundcloud). The album features covers by Aimee Mann, Rogue Wave, Manchester Orchestra, Charly Bliss, The Long Winters, and more. Standing At The Gates will be released digitally on February 2, 2018 and on CD on March 2, 2018. Nada Surf supports the ACLU and The Pablove Foundation. 09 Jan 2018

Ruler signs with Barsuk, premieres “Easy Life” video

Barsuk Records is super excited to welcome Ruler to the roster. The project of Seattle-based musician Matt Batey (best known for his work with Cataldo and Rocky Votolato), today Ruler premiered the new single "Easy Life" along with the track's music video at PopMatters. Watch/share the video here.

The band also recently released the single "Complicated Mind," with KEXP noting that "with Ruler's latest single... we can now pore over just how expertly crafted Batey's songwriting really is." KEXP goes on to hail Ruler's "totally life-affirming live shows." Listen to "Complicated Mind" here. 30 Nov 2017