Bishop Allen Ready to “Start Again”

3 Jun

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The first thing you need to know about Bishop Allen is that there’s no one named Bishop or Allen in the band.

Lead vocalist and keyboardist, Justin Rice, and guitarist, Christian Rudder, met while attending Harvard (the Stanford of the East…) and they formed the band while living on Bishop Allen Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There you go.

Bishop Allen has released three CDs and quite a number of EPs. The band’s debut was Charm School in 2003. In 2006, Bishop Allen challenged itself to release a new EP every month. The EPs were typically named for the month in which they were released, and with the exception of August — which consisted of live performances — each EP featured four new studio songs.

In 2007, some of the songs from those EPs — together with still more new material — made it onto The Broken String, an extraordinarily creative, well-regarded album. With songs such as “The Monitor,” “The Chinatown Bus,” “Like Castanets,” “Corazon,” and the epic “Flight 180” — still my favorite Bishop Allen song — the 12-song set is a testament to the band’s superb writing, exceptional musicianship, innovative arrangements, and precise production.

Two years later, Bishop Allen released Grrr…, a fun collection of catchy indie pop-rock tunes including “Dimmer,” “The Lion & the Teacup,” “The Ancient Commonsense of Things,” “Rooftop Brawl,” and “Cue the Elephants.”

And now, after five long years of waiting for the band’s many fans, Bishop Allen has announced it will release its fourth full-length album, Lights Out, on August 19th. Yayyy!!

The album was recorded last summer and fall in the band’s studio in a restored Victorian located in upstate Kingston, New York and owned by Justin Rice and Darbie Nowatka Rice — the latter of whom sings occasional lead vocals plus backing vocals and plays glockenspiel for the band. Darbie is also a highly accomplished artist, who designs handmade jewelry and paper goods.

And lest you think you still have to wait 11 weeks before hearing something new from Bishop Allen, the band has posted the aptly titled “Start Again” — the first track on the 12-song set — on its Facebook page and the web page for its label, Dead Oceans.

The playful indie pop tune’s opening line, “Summer summer and the sun is settin’ later than late” gets you in the mood for those long days of fun and freedom ahead. In addition to the band’s usual mix of guitar, bass and drums, Justin’s nimble synth playing is a welcome addition. The rich harmonies on the album include the voices of Justin, Darbie, drummer Michael Tapper, bass player Dave Lerner, Ken Cook, and Anne Cunningham.

So, Lights Out everyone, it’s time to sleep and dream pleasant summer dreams of the new Bishop Allen CD that can be in your hands on August 19th — or two weeks earlier via digital download when you order from the band!

Lights Out is available for preorder now from Bishop Allen’s Facebook page, SC Distribution, iTunes, Amazon, or your nearest record store.

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