MS MR Talk Debut LP 'Secondhand Rapture,' Meeting Usher

New York-based gloom pop duo MS MR are readying their debut album, “Secondhand Rapture,” for release on May 14 via Columbia and revealed the album’s artwork on Friday. The album was produced by the band’s Max Hershenow, with additional mixing and production from Tom Elmhirst (Amy Winehouse, Adele) and will include lead singles “Fantasy”  and “Hurricane."

The cover was shot by the band’s friend Tyler Kohlhoff, and features a glam-yet-gloomy mantelpiece drenched in candlewax and lit by silver streamers. “Our idea for the cover was to recreate the dregs of a classic debaucherous New York party in a decaying grandiose house that's been put through mayhem,” the band’s Lizzy Plapinger and Hershenow wrote in an e-mail to Billboard. “The party's now ended but the room continues to carry energy and mischief in the air, weight and tension as if a storm has just passed through it. It's all a nod to the different connotations of ‘rapture.’”

The "secondhand" piece, however, is a bit more subtle, MS MR adds. “The image has borders within borders - the mirror, the mantle, the fireplace - which reference the screens and processes, removed and yet intimate, by which we experience, feel and relate to media. It could almost be viewed as a shrine turned on his head...We're always trying to create an environment for the music to live in. We thrive in that in-between space of what has just occurred and what is about to.”

“Secondhand Rapture” also features “Bones,” a song that has gained significant exposure in recent weeks from its inclusion in the Season 3 trailer for HBO’s “Game Of Thrones,” which has already racked up more than 20 million views on YouTube. In the week following the spot’s debut (Feb 22), MS MR acquired 6,900 fans on Facebook (up 206% from the previous week) and nearly 750 new followers on Twitter (up 86%). The exposure also helped the band’s debut EP “Candy Bar Creep Show” crack Billboard’s Heatseekers album chart for the first time last month since being released in October, and even helped “Bones” crack the March 9 Hot Rock Songs chart at No. 49.

“Generally we try and stay a little bit insulated from the buzz and concentrate on what we're doing,” the band says, “but it's been unavoidably awesome over the past [few] weeks. We only learned about the ‘Game of Thrones’ spot two days before it came out, but we weren't sure if we actually got it until it was released. We've been SO excited as we’re not only huge fans of the show but the response has been overwhelming, and the news that we [debuted] at #12 on the Heatseekers Chart is just the cherry on top of a lot of other cherries at the moment.”

Some of those other cherries include an April tour of the States with Jessie Ware, followed by their first headlining tour in May that will hit New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Columbus, Toronto and Montreal. Also, meeting Usher, who swung by Columbia’s daytime showcase at South By Southwest showcase last Friday just to check out MS MR’s set. “So this just happened. We just reached our CLIMAX” the band tweeted next to a picture of themselves with the singer.