You probably know Ken Stringfellow as the co-leader of Northwestern power-pop all-timers the Posies or as a sideman for R.E.M. or latter-day Big Star. He’s also a solo artist (we’re particularly fond of the soft-rock American beauty that is 2001’s Touched) and is currently preparing the debut by his Norwegian garage-rock band, the DiSCiPLiNES. Each day this week, magnetmagazine.com guest editor Stringfellow will be filing reports from his home on the European continent.
Stringfellow: My neighbors happen to be Paris’ ultimate hipster bar. Not “hype,” the word Parisians use for exclusive (read: crap) discos. (As a compliment, oddly.) There’s no 6’2″ bouncer with a headset preventing you from entering Le Motel. There isn’t even a line out the door, proving that quality is something that only attracts quality and the masses will always be queuing for abuse at some shite turtleneck-wearing techno barn. The music is always good, usually DJs, but they have a tiny stage that manages occasionally to accommodate full bands. The bar is in the back, so you have two zones to choose from. It’s tiny, but except on those nights where it’s absolutely crammed with young, good-looking indie rockers (jeez, I feel like Karl Lagerfeld when I say something like that), you generally can find your spot, get served by very friendly, cool people—usually the owners. You can order a wooden cutting board with sliced saucisson, cheese and pickles for a snack. It’s a no-bullshit bar, and it has no seediness whatsoever, so it really doesn’t feel like being in a bar with a capital B. Go here and search through the bands; you can see an interview and live performance by the Posies, where we discuss the origin and meaning of each song we are about to play. This was filmed during daytime hours at Le Motel in 2007.