Exclusive: Bear in Heaven Cosigns to Dead Oceans, Hometapes
Exclusive: Bear in Heaven Cosigns to Dead Oceans, Hometapes

Experimental indie trio Bear in Heaven have cosigned to Dead Oceans and their native label Hometapes, Billboard.biz has learned.

The band will release their upcoming third LP ("I Love You, It's Cool," out April 3) through both imprints, both of which retail via SC Distribution (alongside Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar, among others).

"We've known these guys for over a decade," says Hometapes founder Sara Padgett Heathcott. She and husband/Hometapes cofounder Adam Heathcott went to design school in Savannah, GA, with Bear in Heaven members Adam Wills and Joe Stickney. "We had been doing everything that we could to get the band's music as far as possible, but when the new album came up, we talked about our goals, we realized we wanted to continue working as closely as we had been, but we needed to ask ourselves: could we support this record to the fullest?"

She says that the success of the last Bear in Heaven record, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, gave Hometapes "currency" within the indie world; since its release, she says that multiple labels have had their eyes on the band, which was what motivated them, in part, to approach Dead Oceans.

Hometapes, run by the Heathcotts out of the pair's Portland home, boasts releases by 17 musical artists in addition to 15 visual artists. Previously, the label has been based in Georgia, Florida, and Colorado--wherever the couple put roots down. The couple developed a relationship with the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar/Dead Oceans family when they, both musicians themselves, toured with both the Bowerbirds (Dead Oceans) and Megafaun (Hometapes; the band is comprised of former members of DeYarmond Edison with Justin Vernon of Jagjaguwar's Bon Iver).

Dead Oceans president Phil Waldorf says the new deal will provide a more expansive network of opportunities for the band, without taking away from the immediacy and close-knit relationship the trio already has with the Heathcotts.

"Bear in Heaven and Hometapes had some ambitions that, in the end, they were afraid they might not meet, with their resources," Waldorf (who attended the University of Georgia with the third Bear in Heaven member, frontman Jon Philpot) explains. "We've been believers in both the band and Hometapes for a long time, since before they joined [SC]; we probably would have sought them out even if we hadn't already known them. Now we get to fast-forward."

Among the new resources the deal will bring to the band is a European presence, via Dead Oceans' London offices, Waldorf adds.

The band will promote "I Love You, It's Cool" with a U.S. tour starting in March. To promote the album prior to the tour, the trio has posted a 400,000%-slowed stream of the record on their website (http://bearinheaven.com/). It's meant to play once through over the three and a half months until the record's release, and is so slow that the first vocals of the album won't be heard until 88 hours into the stream.

"We knew we could really multiply our strengths if we worked with the [Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar/Dead Oceans] guys," Heathcott says. "So we went to them with an unprecedented request. It was all in service of, really, a vision. We want to mix up the idea of what it means to run a label these days."

The Bear in Heaven "I Love You, It's Cool" 2012 U.S. Tour:

3/28/12 - Andy Warhol Museum - Pittsburgh, PA
3/29/12 - The Bishop - Bloomington, IN
3/30/12 - The Basement - Columbus, OH
3/31/12 - MOTR Pub - Cincinnati, OH
4/01/12 - The Luminary Center for the Arts - St. Louis, MO
4/04/12 - Casbah - San Diego, CA
4/05/12 - The Echo - Los Angeles, CA
4/08/12 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
4/12/12 - Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR
4/13/12 - The Crocodile - Seattle, WA
4/14/12 - The Biltmore Cabaret - Vancouver, BC
4/17/12 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN
4/18/12 - Schubas - Chicago, IL
4/20/12 - Zanzabar - Louisville, KY
4/21/12 - Exit/In - Nashville, TN
4/22/12 - Hi-Tone Cafe - Memphis, TN
4/24/12 - The Parish - Austin, TX
4/25/12 - Fitzgerald's - Houston, TX
4/26/12 - The Bottletree - Birmingham, AL
4/27/12 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA
4/28/12 - Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC
4/29/12 - Kings Barcade - Raleigh, NC
5/01/12 - Black Cat Backstage - Washington, DC
5/02/12 - First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia, PA
5/03/12 - Brighton Music Hall - Allston, MA
5/04/12 - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, QC
5/05/12 - The Garrison - Toronto, ON
5/06/12 - The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
5/08/12 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
5/09/12 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY