Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard to release solo album

Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard has announced plans to release his debut solo album, Former Lives, on October 16 via Barsuk. Recorded alongside Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza, the 12-track effort collects previously unreleased, reworked material and features guest appearances by Jon Wurster, Mark Spencer and Aimee Mann.

Gibbard has said that his solo effort is not a result of any dissatisfaction with Death Cab. He is currently on tour with the band through the end of August.

Passion Pit cancels tour dates

Passion Pit announced Monday morning the cancellation of several upcoming tour dates. In a note on the band’s website, frontman Michael Angelakos writes:

On behalf of the band and myself, I would like to greatly apologize for the show cancelations. In order for me to ensure that there will be no further disruptions, I am going to take the time to work on improving my mental health. For now, I’d like to thank all of our fans for their understanding. I hope to see all of you very soon in a much different light.

Their current itinerary, which has basically been slashed in half, can be found here. (New later dates likely to be announced in the future.)

Passion Pit’s new album, Gossamer, releases on July 24 on Columbia.

Ben Folds Five Announce First Album in 13 Years

Ben Folds Five will release their first album in 13 years, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind, on September 18 via ImaVeePee Records/Sony Music Entertainment. Artwork and 10-song tracklist is attached.

The band funded the album through a grassroots crowdsourcing campaign on PledgeMusic. A portion of the funds generated by album sales, and other items ordered by fans through PledgeMusic, will be used to support Music Education and Music Therapy, a charity personally chosen by Ben Folds Five, according to a press release.

The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind Tracklist:
01. Erase Me
02. Michael Praytor, Five Years Later
03. Sky High
04. The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind
05. On Being Frank
06. Draw A Crowd
07. Do It Anyway
08. Hold That Thought
09. Away When You Were Here
10. Thank You For Breaking My Heart

Ed Sheeran Debuts at No. 5 in U.S., Will Be Variance July Cover

This week's top charts feature a handful of new releases, something of a rarity so far this year.

On top, Usher secures his fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as expected, with Looking 4 Myself selling 128,000 sold according to Nielsen SoundScan.

At No. 2, rock band Rush clocks its best sales week in 10 years as Clockwork Angels debuts with 103,000. Adele's 21, which was No. 1 last week, is No. 3 with 63,000. (The album is on track to remain in the top 10 for 70 consecutive weeks following next week's chart details.) Country star Josh Turner debuts at No. 4 with Punching Bag, selling 45,000 copies in its first week.

Rounding out the top five, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran takes a bow at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 with his first full-length album, +. The set starts with 42,000 and also debuts at No. 1 on the Folk Albums chart. The album has been a smash in Sheeran's homeland, where it debuted at No. 1 in late 2011 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart and currently sits at No. 7 in its 40th week on the list.

Sheeran's arrival is the highest debut for a U.K. male solo artist's first full-length album since Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) on July 29, 2006 with The Eraser. It debuted at No. 2.
The 21-year-old musician will be Variance's July cover story.

Two Door Cinema Club to Release New LP in September

It's been a long time coming, but Two Door Cinema Club is set to release their new album Beacon on September 3.

Since releasing the debut album Tourist History in 2010, the band has toured extensively and enjoyed immense success. After a lengthy spell in the studio, they're ready to release the next project.

Working with Jacknife Lee in his home studio, sessions seemingly brought out the best in the band. Frontman Alex Trimble had the following to say: "Beacon is a much more intimate record than our first, but at the same time, it's much bigger and more inclusive. Trying to find that balance has been our goal for a long time and this record takes us one step closer to the band we've dreamt of becoming."

Check out a trailer here.

Adele Song Wakes Girl From Coma After Doctors Give Up

Adele's hit single "Rolling in the Deep" may have been last year's best-selling and most talked-about song, but according to The Telegraph, the popular track recently woke a seven-year-old British girl from a coma.

Charlotte Neve was rushed to Leeds hospital on April 13 after suffering a brain hemmorhage, having to undergo two operations. Unfortunately, she slipped into a coma, and doctors informed her mother Leila, 31, that she was not expected to survive. Then, miraculously, after lying comatose for a week, Adele's hit single came on the hospital radio, and Leila, recalling her daughter's fondness for the tune, sang along. To the amazement of her mother--and her doctors--Charlotte broke into a smile

"Charlotte started smiling, and I couldn't believe it," Leila told the Telegraph. "It was the first time she had reacted to anything since the hemorrhage. The nurses were astounded and told me to keep singing, and she smiled again. The nurses said it was like I 'unlocked her' and from that day she started getting better and better."

Several days later, she began talking, and was even able to get out of her hospital bed. Charlotte is now recovering at home, where she is learning to walk and talk again. She has since returned to school, and has even taken up dance classes again.

Although Charlotte has been left with partial blindness and memory loss, Leila added: "[She] has been brilliant. She is so determined and brave. The doctors have stopped telling us what she should be able to do because she has amazed them so much."

Radiohead Cancels Show After Stage Collapse Kills One

(Photo: Instagram)

Radiohead has canceled their sold-out show in Toronto on Saturday, following a stage collapse at Downsview Park, the site of the band's scheduled performance.

Multiple media accounts indicate that one person has died in the stage collapse. At least three others are being treated by emergency crews. The band did not appear to be onstage at the time of the collapse.

Twitter user @Jip88 posted a photo of the collapse, one of many pictures circulating online.

UPDATE: BBC News has confirmed that Scott Johnson, Radiohead's drum tech, was the man who died in the tragic stage collapse in Toronto yesterday. According to the news outlet, a relative confirmed the death of the 33-year-old, from Doncaster, who also worked for another British band, Keane. The site remains under investigation, as the tragedy has sent reverberations throughout the music world.

Many of the fans who had planned to attend the Radiohead show instead migrated to Yonge-Dundas Square for a free NXNE concert headlined by the Flaming Lips. Frontman Wayne Coyne paid tribute throughout the show, including a moving cover of Radiohead's "Knives Out," which he presaged by saying "peace be with their hearts tonight." Later Coyne noted that "everyone is looking for an answer when something like this happens, this song says just hold on the best you can" before playing "Waiting For a Superman." "This has been a pretty powerful day. This goes out to the Radiohead family," he said, closing the show with a tearful yet triumphant "Do You Realize?"

Bon Iver to Debut First iTunes Session on June 19

Bon Iver will release their first iTunes session on June 19. It is a special seven-song set that Justin Vernon and his nine-member touring outfit recorded last summer, shortly after the release of their self-titled, Grammy-winning sophomore full-length. Minus a cover of Björk's "Who Is It," a cut from 2004's Medúlla that Bon Iver has frequently performed live during its tour stops, the new release is comprised solely of highlights from the band's sophomore set, including Song of The Year winner "Holocene." The set is now available for pre-order.

Explosions in the Sky to Score Indie Film Starring Paul Rudd

Explosions in the Sky are on the last leg of their tour to promote last year's LP Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, but in an interview with Consequence of Sound, guitarist Munaf Rayani revealed that the band has no plans of slowing down yet. According to Rayani, the band has been tagged to score David Gordon Green’s forthcoming comedy, Prince Avalanche.

“It’s pretty serendipitous that I am speaking to you now because a film is currently being made by film maker David Gordon Green,” Rayani told CoS. “We will be scoring his latest film Prince Avalanche. This particular picture is going to be exceptionally beautiful in that we’re making it with friends of ours.”

Drummer Chris Hrasky recently told Variance he hopes the band will get to do more movie scores, something they haven't done much of since their music was include in Friday Night Lights (film). Prince Avalanche, a remake of the Icelandic comedy, Either Way, has been in the works secretly. Until last week, it was not known that Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch had been quietly shooting for the indie film.

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