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The members of the Black Heart Procession were in the middle of recording their sixth full-length when representatives from their label, respected indie innovator Touch and Go Records, told them that after 27 years of releasing some of underground rock’s most influential artists (including a decade’s worth of Black Heart material), they were closing down the label’s distribution wing and scaling back operations.

In a February 19 press release, Corey Rusk, the president for the Chicago-based label (which has issued releases for bands such as Calexico, Girls Against Boys, TV on the Radio, and Pinback), blamed the reorganization on economic hardship.

A few weeks later, on March 9, Pall Jenkins, guitarist-vocalist for the Black Heart Procession and Three Mile Pilot — also on Touch and Go’s roster — posted a blog entry on the band’s MySpace page informing fans of the news.

“Hey this is Pall,” reads the online bulletin, “anyone want or know anyone who wants to release the new Black Heart record — just let us know — we need a good company — Touch And Go is no longer releasing new records — so all the bands have to find new homes — sad times.”

A week later, in a March 16 email, Jenkins says all options are open, whether that’s finding a new label to release the upcoming album, which should be ready by this coming October, or possibly starting their own label.

“Most labels are downsizing, so it’s hard to say what we will do. We haven’t really been searching around for a label, so we will most likely just see what comes our way as well as reach out and see what could happen.”

The change in the music industry might serve a bigger purpose, added Jenkins. “Times are strange in music, as far as business and labels and the industry, but creatively it feels like a great time to really make something that has its own identity.”

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