In an interview in January 2009, Wade MacNeil and band manager Joel Carriere confirmed that they have 10 songs ready for recording, one of which being "Emerald St." (given the full title "Emerald Street" on the album). The band announced they would begin recording on February 1, 2009, documenting the process as it happened on their internet blog, with MacNeil stating that "For the first time ever we have too many songs". Recording took place in Armoury Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia, working with engineer Nick Blagona (who has previously worked with April Wine and Cat Stevens, as well as the band's 2006 album, Crisis). One week later, Dallas Green announced that the band had already completed seven songs, including "Midnight Regulations", and "probably 8 by the time we finish up". By March 1, 2009, the band announced in their studio blog that they had "drums, bass and most of the guitars completed", and had "now moved on to leads and overdubs". Later the same week, MacNeil announced that work on the album in Vancouver had been completed, with the exception of Green's vocal parts. Upon returning from Vancouver, further recording took place at Silo Studios in Hamilton, Ontario, the same location used on the band's 2004 album Watch Out! and some parts of Crisis. Here, the band co-produced with Julius Butty, who had also worked on the band's previous two albums. Mastering of the album was completed on April 8, 2009, by Brett Zilahi at João Carvalho Mastering.
The band's fourth studio album, it was released on Dine Alone Records, an independent record label founded by the band's manager Joel Carriere. It will mark the first time the band have not released through Distort Entertainment in Canada. On April 20 the band released their first single from Old Crows/Young Cardinals called "Young Cardinals" and have stated the album was slated for release on June 23, 2009. Dine Alone will release the disc in Canada, Australia and South Africa, while the album will be released in the United States by Vagrant Records.
On March 3, 2010, Dine Alone released Old Crows/Young Cardinals on coloured vinyl discs. After the initial run, a standard black pressing will replace it. The initial run contains the following French quote across all four sides of the album in the deadwax: Et ses mains ourdiraient/Les entrailles du prêtre/Au défaut d'un cordon/Pour étrangler les rois. It is a quote from philosopher Denis Diderot's poem Les Éleuthéromanes, translated to: And his hands would plait the priest's entrails, for want of a rope, to strangle kings. More succinctly, it has been taken to mean, "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
The band released the Old Crows/Young Cardinals Bonus Tracks EP, an extended play available separately from Old Crows/Young Cardinals. The EP was released on July 14, 2009 through Dine Alone Records. The release contains two tracks written and recorded during the Old Crows/Young Cardinals, but were not released on the standard edition of the album.
- "Old Crows"
- "Young Cardinals"
- "Sons of Privilege"
- "Born and Raised"
- "No Rest"
- "The Northern"
- "Midnight Regulations"
- "Emerald Street"
- "Heading for the Sun"
- "Accept Crime"
iTunes Pre-Order Bonus TrackEdit
- "Young Cardinals" (Demo)
Japanese Edition Bonus TracksEdit
- "Two Sisters"
- "Wayfarer Youth"
Australian Edition Bonus TrackEdit
- "Wayfarer Youth"
- George Pettit - unclean vocals
- Wade MacNeil - lead guitar, piano and backing vocals
- Chris Steele - bass guitar
- Dallas Green - bass guitar and clean vocals
- Jordan Hastings - drums and percussion
- Produced by Julius Butty and Alexisonfire
- Engineered by Nick Blagona, Rob Stefenson and Marco Brassette
- Mixed by Julius Butty and Dave MacFarquhar
- Mastered by Brett Zilahi
- Pre-production by Nicholas Oscyzpko
- Art Direction by Alexisonfire
- Paintings, Collage and Design by Paul Jackson
- Layout by Paul Jackson and Justin Ellsworth
- Typed by Tricia Ricciuto and Scott Rémila