Singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur has always been prolific, but his 2008 slate makes even his past output look scarce by comparison.
Arthur is planning to release four EPs and a new studio album this year, all through his own Lonely Astronaut label, with distribution by RED. First up is the six-song EP “Could We Survive” on March 18.
That will be followed April 15 by “Crazy Rain and Boredom” and two other EPs on May 13 and June 24. Meanwhile, Arthur’s new studio album, “All You Need Is Nothing,” arrives Aug. 5.
“When I make records, I tend to err on the side of them being too long,” Arthur tells Billboard.com. “EPs keep me in a confined space. They’re like poems. Plus, the EP is like the stepchild of a record — people root for them. It’s time to play with the form and the way things are done.”
“Could We Survive,” which begins with the anti-war track “Rages of Babylon,” has a mix of “bigger production songs and some more lo-fi ones. I like putting those kinds of things together. On a sonic level, it’s much more dynamic.”
For “Crazy Rain,” Arthur is “working with a lot of drum machines” but doesn’t classify the material as techno per se. “It’s just more on the edgier, drum machine-side of what I do,” he says.
Figuring out which songs go on which release is admittedly a challenge for Arthur, who says he has a mastered version of “All You Need Is Nothing” ready to go but predicts, “I could change it and I’m sure I will. I’m working on all of this as I go.”
Indeed, Arthur has been recording constantly of late, without his regular band, in his Brooklyn, N.Y., gallery space, the Museum of Modern Arthur. “I did something last night that I love,” he says. “I’m using old drum machines and doing home recording-style stuff. It’s the most fun to do what you haven’t done in awhile.”
Arthur will play some solo shows this spring, including a date at South by Southwest in March, and he may warm up for that gig with some intimate performances at the gallery.
In the meantime, fans can catch an Arthur guest appearance on “Idle Hands,” a MySpace.com preview track from the Gutter Twins’ Sub Pop debut, “Saturnalia.”