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Thomas Dolby's first new studio album in 20 years

Thomas Dolby, the iconic ’80s star whose smash hits “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive” helped define the MTV generation/revolution, will break his 20-year silence with a new release later this year titled A Map of the Floating City. The album, featuring appearances by special guest artists Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap, will be available on October 25, 2011 on Lost Toy People Records as a regular and hi-res download, as a physical CD, and in a special Deluxe Edition featuring a second disc of instrumentals and bonus tracks.

The five-time Grammy®-nominated British artist quit the music business in the early ’90s and spent many years in Silicon Valley, where his tech company Beatnik Inc. created the ringtone synthesizer embedded in more than three billion mobile phones shipped by Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and others. Now retired from Beatnik, Dolby has returned to his native U.K. and is busy recording an album of brand new songs in a renewable energy-powered studio he built aboard a 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his beach house on England’s North Sea coast.

Of the album, which is divided into three parts, Dolby says, “The new songs are organic and very personal. A Map of the Floating City is a travelogue across three imaginary continents: In Amerikana I’m reflecting with affection on the years I spent living in the U.S.A., and my fascination with its roots music. Urbanoia is a dark place, a little unsettling . . . I’m not a city person. And in Oceanea I return to my natural home on the windswept coastline.”

“I marvel at the new landscape of the music business — distribution via the Internet and recording technologies I barely dreamed of when I started out,” he continues. “But this album does not sound electronic at all. I have zero desire to add to the myriad of machine-based, synth-driven grooves out there. The Net has made a music career approachable for thousands of bands — but I hear too few single-minded voices among them, so I’m returning to what I do best, which is write songs, tell stories.”

To help tell his stories, Dolby has enlisted an impressive cast of guest musicians. Legendary guitarist Mark Knopfler helps drive the epic “17 Hills,” a song about a pair of hapless lovers and a jailbreak. Natalie MacMaster, the Cape Breton fiddler, adds spice to two songs. Scottish singer Eddi Reader takes a front seat on the ethereal “Oceanea.” Bruce Woolley (Camera Club) plays theremin. And Regina Spektor has a cameo as an East European waitress on “Evil Twin Brother.”

The innovative transmedia game The Floating City, co-created by Dolby and based on his song catalog all the way back to the 1980s, is currently in full swing and is proving highly addictive for thousands of regular players. The winning “tribe” will be treated to a private concert performance of the new album in its entirety. Thomas Dolby will shortly announce a string of concert dates in the U.S. and U.K. in support of the album.

BRAIDS Announce UK Tour & Summer Canadian Festivals

Native Speaker the debut long player from justifiably tipped Canadian quartet BRAIDS started as a musical experiment, now several years on, the results of that experiment are being gloriously realized. BRAIDS have spent the last few months wowing audiences across America with their live show, including tastemakers at this year’s SXSW. UK audiences are in for an equally memorable experience when Braids tour the UK for the first time this May.
The band will then be  gearing up for a long run of shows this Summer at 7 Canadian Fesitivals. Starting off the summer with the Flemish Eye showcase at Great Hall with Chad VanGaalen and Jennifer Castle, the band crosses the country hitting Sled Island in Calgary, the Ottawa Bluesfest, Hillside in Guelph, Osheaga in Montreal and the Regina Folk Festival.
Also, the band's recent homecoming performance at the Grand in Calgary was recently captured by CBC Radio One. Despite having debilitating bronchitis, singer Raphaelle Standell-Prestongave a mesmerizing performance to the sold-out crowd while armed with a vaporizer and throat spray. Check out the recording here.
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UK & Canadian Dates:
2nd May -  Montreal, QC - Metropolis  w/ Of Montreal
3rd May - Toronto, ON -  Phoenix Concert Theatre  w/ Of Montreal
12th May – London – Heaven w/The Antlers
13th May – Manchester – Club Academy w/The Antlers
14th May – Brighton – Great Escape
16th May – Berlin – Levee
17th May – Hamburg – Indra
18th May – Brussels – AB Clun w/Friendly Fires
19th May – Paris - Fleche D'or
20th May – Amsterdam – London Calling
21st May – Liverpool – Sound City
22nd May – Glasgow – Captains Rest
23rd May – Leeds – Cockpit
24th May – London – Lexington
26th May – Cambridge – Haymakers
27th May – Oxford – Jericho
28th May – Bristol – Dot to Dot Festival
29th May – Nottingham - Dot to Dot Festival
30th May – Manchester  - Dot to Dot Festival

17th - 18th June - Toronto - NXNE

22nd - 24th June : Calgary - Sled Island Music Festival
16th June : Ottawa -  Ottawa Bluesfest
22nd July : Calgary - Calgary Folk Music Festival
24th July - Guelph - Hillside Festival
30th July  - Montreal - Osheaga Festival
5th August - Regina - Regina Folk Festival

Thomas Dolby prepares first new album in 20 years

Thomas Dolby, the iconic ’80s star whose smash hits “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive” helped define the MTV generation/revolution, is preparing to break his 20-year silence with a new album later this year titled A Map of the Floating City. The album features appearances by special guest artists Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap. Leading up to the full-length, Dolby will release three digital-only EPs containing three or four songs apiece exclusively for signed-up members of his online fan community, The Flat Earth Society.

The five time Grammy™-nominated British artist quit the music business in the early ’90s and spent many years in Silicon Valley, where his tech company Beatnik Inc. created the ringtone synthesizer embedded in more than 3 billion mobile phones shipped by Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and others. Now retired from Beatnik, Dolby has returned to his native UK and is busy recording an album of brand new songs in a renewable energy-powered studio he built aboard a 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his beach house on England’s North Sea coast.

“The new songs are organic and very personal,” says Dolby. “This album is a travelogue across three imaginary continents. In Amerikana I’m reflecting with affection on the years I spent living in the USA, and my fascination with its roots music. Urbanoia is a dark place, a little unsettling . . . I’m not a city person. And in Oceanea I return to my natural home on the windswept coastline.

I marvel at the new landscape of the music business — distribution via the Internet and recording technologies I barely dreamed of when I started out,” he continues. “But this album does not sound electronic at all. I have zero desire to add to the myriad of machine-based, synth-driven grooves out there. The Net has made a music career approachable for thousands of bands — but I hear too few single-minded voices among them. What I do best is write songs, tell stories.”

To help tell his stories, Dolby has enlisted an impressive cast of guest musicians. Legendary guitarist Mark Knopfler helps drive the epic “17 Hills,” a song about a pair of hapless lovers and a jailbreak. Natalie MacMaster, the Cape Breton fiddler, adds spice to two songs. Scottish singer Eddi Reader takes a front seat on the ethereal “Oceanea.” Bruce Woolley (Camera Club) adds theremin. And Regina Spektor has a cameo as an East European waitress on “Evil Twin Brother.”

The first EP, Amerikana, will be available June 12 exclusively to signed-up members of The Flat Earth Society at www.thomasdolby.com. It includes the songs “Road to Reno,” “The Toad Lickers” and “17 Hills,” featuring Knopfler and MacMaster. Two additional EPs are to follow during 2010, culminating in a physical CD release that will add additional songs and complete the set. A multi-city live tour is likely for 2011.