M. Ward just surprise-dropped a new album which is titled What A Wonderful Industry. The title seems just a little sarcastic and it should be noted that after LPs on Merge (and Bella Union), this one is out via his own M. Ward Records. He says:

This is a record inspired by people in the industry I have known - heroes and villains in equal measure. There's some beautiful moments when you travel for a living, and I'm grateful for being part of an industry that's taken me around the world so many times - but you quickly learn there's a perfectly imperfect balance of cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals in the zoo. This record visits the most memorable characters. There's a lot of very inspirational people I've had the pleasure to work with but there are also a few I wish I'd never met. It all tragically ends with an imaginary Griffin Mill-inspired murder ballad.

Stream the whole record below.

On tour with The Decemberists as we write this (they play New Haven, CT tonight), M Ward recently played long-running NPR show Mountain Stage with Laura Veirs and more, and you can listen to that here. He and The Decemberists hit NYC for a BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! show in Prospect Park on Wednesday, June 13 (tickets) and the day before they'll play Red Bank, NJ's Count Basie Theatre (tickets).

M. Ward also has solo shows and dates with First Aid Kit -- all are listed below.

JUN 08 College Street Music Hall New Haven, CT w/ The Decemberists
JUN 09 The Green at Shelburn Museum Burlington, VT w/ The Decemberists
JUN 10 State Theatre Portland, ME w/ The Decemberists
JUN 12 Count Basie Theatre Red Bank, NJ w/ The Decemberists
JUN 13 BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival Brooklyn, NY w/ The Decemberists
JUN 15 Musikfest Cafe At ArtsQuest Center Bethlehem, PA
JUN 16 9:30 Club Washington, DC
JUN 18 Commonwealth Bar Calgary, Canada
JUN 20 The Imperial Vancouver, Canada
JUN 21 Paramount Theatre Seattle, WA w/ The Decemberists
JUN 22 McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheatre Portland, OR
JUN 23 McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheatre Portland, OR
JUL 01 Stern Grove Festival San Francisco, CA
JUL 05 RBC Bluesfest (July 5-15) Ottawa, Canada
JUL 07 Place des Festivals Montreal, Canada
JUL 08 Festival de Quebec Quebec City, Canada
JUL 11 Mod Club Toronto, Canada
JUL 13 The Haunt Ithaca, NY
JUL 14 Bearsville Theater Woodstock, NY
JUL 15 Prescott Park Arts Fest Portsmouth, NH
UL 17 Live at Lagunitas Petaluma, CA
AUG 18 Snow Park Amphitheater at Deer Valley Park City, UT w/ Lukas Nelson & POTR
SEP 26 The Greek Theatre Los Angeles, CA w/ First Aid Kit
SEP 28 The Masonic San Francisco, CA w/ First Aid Kit