The ever-evolving art-rock band Animal Collective kicked off the New Year with plans for a brief mid-January tour of Europe and the U.S. With...

The ever-evolving art-rock band Animal Collective kicked off the New Year with plans for a brief mid-January tour of Europe and the U.S. With those initial stateside dates now underway, the group has confirmed extended European and North American treks for spring.

The new itinerary picks up with a 22-city European jaunt that runs from March 4 at Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway, and ends March 28 at Stiff Kitten in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The avant-garde group will take some time off before beginning a 24-date run across North America, slated to begin May 11 at 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, and wrap June 10 at Club Firestone in Orlando, FL.

Highlights include a May 14 at the new House of Blues venue in Boston, MA, a May 29 session at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, CA, and a June 5 gig at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in Austin, TX. Three shows in Canada are booked, as well: May 15 at Metropolis in Montreal, QC; May 16 at Sound Academy in Toronto, ON; and May 24 at Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC.

Animal Collective is supporting the group’s eighth studio album, “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” which was officially released on CD today (January 20). A follow-up to 2007’s critically acclaimed album “Strawberry Jam,” the record will spend its first week of release at the No. 38 position of Billboard‘s Top Independent Albums chart.

The record’s title comes from the concert venue of the same name, which is located in Symphony Woods in Columbia, MD. Merriweather Post Pavilion was designed by architect Frank Gehry and opened in 1967. The outdoor space impacted Animal Collective’s members and has influenced the type of music they endeavor to make.

“We used to go to shows there while growing up and have fond memories of times spent on the lawn,” the Baltimore-based band explained in a note accompanying the LP version of the album. “For most of the time we’ve been playing together, both in Animal Collective and the years before, we’ve tried to make music that would be deserving of an amazing outdoor listening experience. As both a name and a place, Merriweather Post Pavilion represents this for us.”

Animal Collective is comprised of musicians Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Avey Tare (David Portner), Geologist (Brian Weitz) and Deakin (Josh Dibb), though albums released under the Collective name can feature contributions from any or all of the members. Since the release of “Strawberry Jam” and the subsequent tour, Deakin has been on hiatus from the group and is not expected to participate in the 2009 trek.

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Animal Collective itinerary:
(Dates are subject to change.)

March 4Oslo, NORRockefeller Music Hall
March 5Lund, SWEMejeriet
March 6Copenhagen, DENAmager Bio
March 8Cologne, GERGloria
March 9Heidelberg, GERKarlstorbahnhof
March 10Fribourg, SWIFri-Son
March 11Lucerne, SWIKonzerthaus Schuur
March 12Florence, ITAViper
March 13Rome, ITATeatro Studio
March 14Milan, ITARolling Stone
March 16Strasbourg, FRALa Laiterie
March 17Amsterdam, NETParadiso
March 18Brussels, BELAncienne Belgique
March 19Lille, FRAAeronef
March 20Nantes, FRAOlympic
March 22Bristol, ENGTrinity Centre
March 23Nottingham, ENGRescue Rooms
March 24London, ENGThe Forum
March 25Leeds, ENGWoodhouse Club
March 26Liverpool, ENGStatic
March 27Dublin, IRETripod
March 28Belfast, NIRStiff Kitten
May 11Washington, DC9:30 Club
May 12Philadelphia, PAElectric Factory
May 13New York, NYTerminal 5
May 14Boston, MAHouse Of Blues
May 15Montreal, QCMetropolis
May 16Toronto, ONSound Academy
May 18Royal Oak, MIRoyal Oak Music Theatre
May 19Milwaukee, WITurner Hall Ballroom
May 20Minneapolis, MNFirst Avenue
May 24Vancouver, BCCommodore Ballroom
May 25Portland, ORRoseland Theater
May 26Oakland, CAFox Theater
May 27Big Sur, CAHenry Miller Library
May 29Los Angeles, CAThe Wiltern
May 30Las Vegas, NVHouse Of Blues
May 31Tucson, AZRialto Theatre
June 1Albuquerque, NMSunshine Theatre
June 2Boulder, COBoulder Theater
June 4Dallas, TXHouse Of Blues
June 5Austin, TXStubb’s Bar-B-Q
June 6Oxford, MSThe Library
June 8St. Petersburg, FLThe State Theatre
June 9Ft. Lauderdale, FLCulture Room
June 10Orlando, FLClub Firestone