Grand Duchy is the latest venture from Charles Thompson (a.k.a Frank Black, a.k.a. Black Francis). It’s a duo with his wife Violet Clark that explores relatively off-road terrain for Thompson: high-gloss new wave and vampish synth pop. Grand Duchy’s playful and slightly Euro-affected debut album, Petits Four, is out April 14 on Cooking Vinyl. Thompson and Clark are guest editing magnetmagazine.com this week. Read our Q&A with them.
Where do we begin, what’s not to love, and what can be said that hasn’t already been said about Woody Allen? He is the greatest philosopher/moviemaker of the 20th century. An atheist with a healthy fear of God just to be on the safe side. Violet grew up watching comic gems such as 1973 existential sci-fi romance Sleeper over and over on Sunday afternoons with limitless glee. 1986 familial masterpiece Hannah And Her Sisters made young Violet pine to get grown up and move to the Upper East Side, have dysfunctional, passionate affairs with artists and host sadirs. Charles is particularly smitten with 1980’s Stardust Memories, a film about the vapid inanity—and shifting sands—of fame, idolatry and integrity in the arts industry. (Don’t forget the subplot that sees Allen’s character compulsively and blindly drawn to the sexy, creative, complicated and crazy-making woman; something Mr. Black knows a thing or two about.) Ultimately, when Mr. Allen says, “80 percent of success is just showing up,” it makes Grand Duchy very, very happy to be here.