Belle and Sebastian promotes first new album in four years

British pop outfit Belle and Sebastian is releasing a free song on its website September 7, available as a download to promote the band's first album in four years. A longstanding indie-cult darling, the band also enlisted fans to spread the word about their new LP with a one-of-a-kind photo contest. 

To generate social media buzz for the album, the band asked their fans via Twitter and their website to write the new album title in chalk or other nonpermanent ways in public spaces, photograph themselves doing so, and upload the photographs to Flickr. On September 3, Belle and Sebastian picked out five winners from more than 800 entries and plans to dole out prizes, such as concert tickets and a meet-and-greet with the band.

Belle and Sebastian is also emailing MP3s of the new single, simply called "Write About Love," to a few Twitter followers. "It is the winner's choice what to do with it," they wrote on Twitter . "They can keep it to themselves in the knowledge that no one else has it; share it with their friends; hold a listening party at their home or they could let the world either hear it or read all about it online."

The new album, Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, marks the group's eighth and is produced by Tony Hoffer, a Los Angeles-based music mixer credited for his work with Beck, Supergrass, Turin Brakes, and Air. Originally formed in Glasgow in 1996 by former member Stuart David and Stuart Murdoch, Belle and Sebastian now comprises seven musicians. While never gaining huge mainstream success, the band has long been considered an indie favorite and a critical success. Their third album, The Boy With An Arab Strap, released in 1998, earned critical acclaim, top rankings in the UK charts, and is considered the apex of the band's long career.

The new album, Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, will be officially released on October 11 in most countries and October 12 in North America. The band will launch their world tour in New York City on September 30 and close the tour in Glasgow on October 21.

To listen to the new single and find out more about tour dates, visit www.belleandsebastian.com

To view the entries from the Belle and Sebastian photo contest, visit www.flickr.com/groups/writeaboutlove

Read the latest Belle and Sebastian tweets at www.twitter.com/bellesglasgow

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