A collective slap to the forehead occurred at MAGNET HQ when we realized our recent 15 In Philly coverage (a 15th-anniversary look at hometown bands) neglected even to mention Stinking Lizaveta. The West Philly trio has been playing instrumental prog/metal since 1996, and hardly a week goes by that the group—brothers Yanni (guitar) and Alexi Papdopoulos (upright bass) and Cheshire Agusta (drums)—doesn’t appear onstage at some local divehole. (In Philly, you don’t go see Stinking Lizaveta; they see you.) Steve Albini put them on the bill for All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2004, and Fugazi’s Joe Lally issued one of SL’s records on his label. So what’s MAGNET’s excuse for the glaring omission? We’re kind of scared of these people. They are technically superior musicians and they look like they have ties to the Russian mob. Besides, we’re sure our neighbors over at Decibel have it covered. Download the title track from the upcoming Sacrifice And Bliss (At A Loss, due March 31) here or stream audio below. Warning: The riffage will dislodge your Thor/Viking helmet beginning around the 2:00 mark.
The sound of young Scotland—whatever it is these days; ranging from the excellent wobbly pop of Frightened Rabbit to the kinda-OK arena rock of Glasvegas—gets another voice with Popup, whose debut arrives May 5 via Conor Oberst’s Team Love imprint. Download A Time & A Place track “What’s The Matter Now?” here or stream below. This particular song has the jitters—Popup doesn’t always sound like it’s playing at 78 rpm—but it’s the best showcase for frontman Damian Gilhooly’s heavyweight Scottish burr.
Tommy Keene has been playing guitar hero for more than a quarter-century, both on his power-pop solo albums (his latest is In The Late Bright, out this week) and as a sideman for Robert Pollard and Paul Westerberg. Keene, apparently weary of all the critical acclaim, agreed to dole out some of his own praise. He’s guest editing magnetmagazine. com this week and compiled a mix tape for us with a free mp3.
Keene: Playing guitar last year with Bob Pollard’s Boston Spaceships, I made a new friend in Spaceships drummer John Moen. (John’s main gig is handling the skins for the Decemberists.) We were talking about various venues and dressing rooms when he introduced me to a new term: “fluffy.” As in, “Was the dressing room fluffy, meaning nice and accommodating to the artist’s needs?” The backstage accommodations on that tour ran the gamut from luxurious and very nice to downright stanky and nasty. Rock ‘n’ roll dressing rooms on the punk-rock, Frank Riley circuit are notoriously bad, the missing ingredient usually being the private bathroom exclusively for the performers. This inevitably leads to gangs of men peeing into any handy receptacle, be it a huge trashcan/piss bucket and various cups and bottles—or, if there’s a door handy, a nice patch of grass or a dumpster in the alley.
I was a bit envious when I visited John backstage at the Decemberists’ show at L.A.’s Wiltern Theater last fall. Not only were there dressing rooms, showers and bathrooms galore, I couldn’t help but notice the wardrobe case on display in the main room. Hmm, what shall I wear tonight? Maybe that shirt, which would go great with that pair of trousers! No more Motel 6 ironing boards or wrinkled shirts hanging on the seatbelt in the van that everyone knocks down when they get in—man, this is fluffy living! As I prepare to go out on tour this spring with the Tommy Keene Group, I’m sure I’ll run into some fluffy and unfluffy dressing rooms. If only I could borrow that wardrobe case.
“Big O Gets An Earful” from Boston Spaceships’ upcoming The Planets Are Blasted (download here): http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/BigOGetsAnEarful.mp3
If you like the indie-pop stylings of Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s, you might want to check out their “sister band.” Pravada, which includes three Margot members, released debut album Manus Piere this winter on the Musical Family Tree label. If you don’t feel like shelling out the cash to buy it, you’re in luck: The Indianapolis band is offering free downloads of three tracks from the LP. Margot fans will dig Pravada’s atmospheric, epic brand of pop, though there’s no evidence of the Royal Tenenbaums fixation that Margot frontman Richard Edwards possesses, which isn’t a bad thing.
Ever wonder what will happen during the last five minutes of late-night TV talk shows? They let musicians onstage! Here are tonight’s notable performers:
Late Show With David Letterman (CBS): Antony And The Johnsons
Can’t say if this is intentional or not, but Dave welcomes Antony and Donald Trump on the show tonight. One of them you want to hug; one of them you want to punch.
Last Call With Carson Daly (NBC): Lykke Li
Pithily, Li is the Björkier version of El Perro Del Mar, but count us among the very interested in her appearance on Carson Daly; it’s apparently going to be a half-hour segment/mini-concert.
Antony And The Johnsons’ “Epilepsy Is Dancing” from The Crying Light (download here):
It’s not that we didn’t appreciate the bedroom-pop talents of Eric Elbogen when he was going under the name Say Hi To Your Mom; we just didn’t want to write about a band called Say Hi To Your Mom. Under the shortened moniker Say Hi, we can proudly talk about Elbogen’s upcoming fifth album, Oohs & Aahs (on Barsuk, due March 3). The Seattle-based Elbogen has a-ha, OMD and the Field Mice wrapped around Oohs & Aahs like a scarf, but it never sounds like he’s a sad sack in a Snuggie; this might be the record to ease you into spring. Download here or stream below.
“November Was White, December Was Grey” from Oohs & Aahs:
TiVo is so confused! Torn between two performers with 90 percent similarity in audience demographic; please consult user’s manual on how to record both Bird (pictured) and Ward while watching neither in real time. Forced to choose? MAGNET has seen each of these guys multiple times; Bird has the edge with his whistling and footwork on the effects pedals, but click over to Letterman just to see if Zooey‘s around and what kind of cool vintage guitar Ward’s playing.
Andrew Bird’s “Oh No” from Noble Beast (download here): http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/OhNo.mp3
On the title track of his new In The Late Bright (Second Motion), singer/songwriter Tommy Keene claims, “The nighttime world has lost its appeal.” Don’t get the idea, though, that this notorious night owl likes to turn in early with a good book; he just tends to chill in his L.A. abode rather than go clubbing. “Remember when you were young, you wanted to go out because you might miss something?” he asks. “Well, I’m sort of over that. I’d rather sit at home and make my own fun.” Like create a MAGNET mix of his favorite tunes to get you in a “late bright” mood.
Keene—a genuine power-pop legend responsible for 1984 classic Places That Are Gone and subsequently employed by Paul Westerberg and Robert Pollard and admired by the likes of Jeff Tweedy and Pete Buck—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com this week.
While Jay Reatard slept (OK, he didn’t sleep; but last year, he released a half dozen seven-inch singles via Matador instead of making a full-length statement), Nathan Williams (a.k.a. Wavves) made the hypercolor-punk masterpiece of 2009. Williams is 22 years old, he lives with his parents in San Diego, and he grooves to both the Wipers and the Marvelettes. Nothing left to do but listen: Download “So Bored” from his second album (Wavvves, due March 17 on the Fat Possum label) here or stream audio below.
In a news item about the upcoming Merge Records anniversary show, we made a offhand, joking remark about singer/songwriter Richard Buckner. In the spirit of reconciliation, we’ll kick off this update by letting offended fans know that Merge will reissue three of Buckner’s out-of-print records, 1995’s Bloomed (download mp3 of “Gauzy Dress In The Sun”), 2000’s The Hill (download mp3 of “Emily Sparks”) and 2002’s Impasse (download mp3 of “Born In To Giving Up”), on March 10 … Did you know that April 18 is Record Store Day? While you’re out shopping for our present, Wilco is releasing its Ashes Of American Flags concert DVD (Nonesuch) that day to indie stores. Sharp readers know that’s a Saturday; April 28, a Tuesday, is when evil corporate retailers officially get the thing in their shops … Brit-rockers Art Brut’s third LP, Art Brut Vs. Satan (Downtown), is out May 12. Among the intriguing factoids about the record: Black Francis produced it, and it contains songs called “The Replacements” and “Alcoholics Unanimous” … Great NYC trio Nada Surf (pictured) continues its love affair with vinyl by reissuing 1998’s The Proximity Effect (download mp3 of “Hyperspace”), 2003’s Let Go (download mp3 of “Blonde On Blonde”) and 2005’s The Weight Is A Gift (download mp3 of “Do It Again”) on wax April 14 via the Barsuk label. Previously out of print on vinyl individually, the LPs were part of the band’s career-spanning, five-album vinyl boxed set last November… Legendary Australian psych-poppers the Church return with the cleverly named Untitled #23 (Second Motion/Orthodox) in late May … In a weak segue, the also-legendary Meat Puppets drop Sewn Together (Megaforce) on May 12. The Kirkwood brothers (Curt on guitar, Cris on bass) are joined by drummer Ted Marcus … L.A.’s Silversun Pickups hope to avoid the sophomore slump with their second LP, Swoon, out April 14 (Dangerbird). If you’re a gamer, look for the exclusive Silversun Pickups Track Pack for Guitar Hero World Tour in April, with three downloadable tracks (two from Swoon) … Glaswegian combo Camera Obscura’s My Maudlin Career (4AD) is out April 21. The record’s single, “French Navy,” will be released a week prior, but download an mp3 of the album’s title track now … MAGNET faves the Veils, um, unveil Sun Gangs on April 7 (Rough Trade). The LP was produced by Graham Sutton (Jarvis Cocker, British Sea Power) … The National announced an eight-date tour, starting May 21 in Toronto and ending May 29 in Philadelphia. The NYC band is promising new songs in the setlist.
The Veils’ “Three Sisters” from Sun Gangs: http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/ThreeSisters.mp3