Sparta has signed an exclusive worldwide recording agreement with Hollywood Records. The internationally acclaimed band will release its highly anticipated third album this summer.

"We finally feel that we are at a place where we can wholly express ourselves," said drummer Tony Hajjar about their new label. "We are able to experiment with all of our ideas and Hollywood is embracing them. They have shown a level of support and trust that we haven't truly seen before."

The quartet (rounded out by vocalist/guitarist Jim Ward, bassist Matt Miller and guitarist Keeley Davis) is currently in pre-production and will begin recording in Los Angeles in March. While in the studio, the band will produce a series of video podcasts, the first of which is available now and will be updated on the bands website.

The El Paso/LA-based band is also working on a short film, which will likely be packaged with their Hollywood debut. The movie will be based on drummer Hajjar's traumatic childhood, growing up with an ailing mother amidst a civil war in Beirut, Lebanon. The band will provide the film's score.

After two critically lauded albums, Sparta is well aware of the high expectations surrounding a new record. "It's a big evolution for us," says Miller. "In the past we've been on a constant cycle of touring, quickly writing and recording a new record, then returning to the road. Now we're taking our time to write, rehearse and shape the new material. What's coming out is a sound with more layers and textures and songs with solid structure. And Keeley definitely brings a more defined melody to the band."

Sparta met Keeley, formerly of the Richmond, VA-based groups Denali and Engine Down, while touring together last year. "We're proud to welcome him to the band," says Ward. We love what he's done in the past and his musical ability, vocals and down-to-earth personality is a perfect fit for us."

Formed in 2001 by ex-At The Drive-In members Ward and Hajjar, Sparta quickly made its mark with the Austere EP in early 2002 and followed a few months later with full-length debut, Wiretap Scars. Two years later, the band released the highly praised Porcelain. Spin gave it an A-, writing that it "drips empathy and emphasis," while Entertainment Weekly proclaimed it to be "personal, cohesive and daring."

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