Chicago indie rock institution the Sea & Cake is eyeing a May release for its seventh Thrill Jockey studio album. Basic tracks were completed in a five-day session last month, and frontman Sam Pre

Chicago indie rock institution the Sea & Cake is eyeing a May release for its seventh Thrill Jockey studio album. Basic tracks were completed in a five-day session last month, and frontman Sam Prekop will spend the next week recording his vocals for the as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2003's "One Bedroom."

"I'd say in general, for lack of a better word, it's more upbeat," Prekop tells Billboard.com. "And somehow, strangely straight-ahead. Some of the songs are more in a certain rock tradition. Of course, that's coming from me, so it may be hard to believe. I always say that kind of stuff and people will hear intensely experimental art-rock leanings rather than straight rock leanings."

He adds that the band aimed to recapture the "Afro-pop thing" present on songs from its self-titled 1994 debut like "Jacking the Ball." "We're really concentrating on the guitar interweave idea. There's a decided lack of Brazilian-y flavors," he says.

At this point, none of the songs have names, a process Prekop prefers to leave until mixing. "I will wait for little song title epiphanies as we work," he says. Look for the band to play some shows around the new album's release date and launch a more extensive tour in the fall.

In addition, Prekop has been busy with a book of his photography, which will be published sometime next year via the Japanese imprint Press Pop. Although his photos of far-off locales have graced the Sea & Cake's album art for years, the book consists only of shots taken "around my house and the neighborhood. It's limited in scope but hopefully expansive in ideas."

Also percolating is synth-based instrumentals Prekop submitted for use in the documentary "Helvetica," which concerns the titular typeface ("We've always used it. It's a classic," Prekop laughs). The artist isn't sure whether his music will make the final cut but enthuses, "I enjoy doing that synth-y stuff quite a bit and at some point I'd like to release something along those lines. I have a fairly elaborate home studio I do stuff in all the time but it never escapes."

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