On hiatus from At The Drive In since last spring, that group’s principal members Cedric Bixler and Omar Rodriguez will resurface with their new band, the Mars Volta. The outfit will issue its debut EP, “Tremulant,” in late March via San Diego-based independent label Gold Standard Labs (GSL). Featuring the tracks “Cut That City,” “Concertina,” and “Eunuchs Provocateur,” the first post-ATDI release will be available on both CD on vinyl.
The complete Mars Volta lineup features Bixler on vocals, Rodriguez on guitar, former Long Beach Dub Allstars member Ikey Owens on keyboards, onetime Royal Trux drummer Jon Theodore, De Facto contributor/dub-fusionist Jeremy Ward in a live sound/sampling capacity and bassist Eva Gardner. The sextet has made MP3s of “Concertina” and a non-EP track, “Roulette Dares,” available for free download via its official Web site.
“The Mars Volta could effortlessly have ventured down the well-worn path to pop-culture paydirt, but have chosen not to,” reads a post on the GSL Web site. “They could, with ease, regurgitate At The Drive In’s formula for success by catering to the proven tastes of their audience, but have not.” Look for the group to tour Europe beginning in late March with fellow indie rock act Les Savy Fav.
Meanwhile, Sparta — consisting of remaining ATDI members Jim Ward, Paul Himojos, and Tony Hajjar, plus bassist Matt Miller — has confirmed plans to hit the studio later this month with producer Jerry Finn (Blink-182, Rancid). The band has signed to DreamWorks and hopes to release its debut album by early summer. An EP, “Austere,” will be sold at upcoming shows and in some retail stores.
At The Drive In announced it was going on hiatus last spring, with Rodriguez saying at the time, “we need time to rest up and re-evaluate, just to be human beings again and to decide when we feel like playing music again.” No information on the band’s current status has been released since. The band’s last album, “Relationship of Command” (Grand Royal), hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart last February and has sold 273,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to SoundScan.