Slowcore band Codeine stopped making music almost 20 years ago; its last LP, The White Birch, came out in 1994. (Yeah, 1994 was 18 years ago.) Well, following the trend set by other ’90s indie favorites like Pavement and Guided By Voices, Codeine is playing some reunion tour dates along with dropping a string of reissues via Numero Group. “Median” is a unreleased Peel Session gem, which comes out alongside a number of other unreleased tracks on the reissues. Download the track below.
Austin’s most soulful Suite 709 is appropriately releasing debut album Night & Day today. (Get it? 7/09?) “Tonight Is My Night” is a throwback to classic R&B, owing a little something to the Motown pioneers. Suite 709 is in the lineage of Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Michael Jackson. We are proud to premiere “Tonight Is My Night” today on magnetmagazine.com. Download it below.
“She knows, she knows,” sighs Laura Burhenn. She’s heard it all before. “A lot of people get pissed off when artists or musicians want to talk about politics, or want to talk about something real—they just don’t like it,” she says. But a funny thing happened when she temporarily joined the Bright Eyes touring band a year ago, on keyboards, percussion and backing vocals. Whenever frontman Conor Oberst would punctuate his tunes with a left-minded rant, sure, a couple of crowd members would tell him to shut up and just sing his song. But mostly, the reaction to his staunch opinions was resounding applause. And she found this incredibly inspiring.
Flash forward and the 32-year-old Burhenn has gained enough confidence to unleash her own torrent of green-minded, anti-corporate, pro-Occupy Wall Street views. An entire album’s worth, in fact, on Generals (Saddle Creek), her sonically adventurous sophomore outing as one-woman band the Mynabirds. In her previous incarnations as a solo artist and part of Washington, D.C., folk/rock duo Georgia James—and even on her soulful 2010 Mynabirds debut, What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood—the closet activist played it relatively safe. But now? She’s mad as hell, and she’s not going to take it anymore.
Musically, the Richard Swift-produced Generals pushes the Mynabirds envelope by tapping into some of Burhenn’s favorite edgy rock masterpieces, like David Bowie’s Low and PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me, plus the grittier work of Patti Smith, Nina Simone and Talking Heads. It’s awash in waves of spectral synths, barrelhouse piano, rockabilly guitar, jungle-tribe percussion and the singer’s rich, layered trill. Lyrically, however, it echoes Mike Judge’s prescient film Idiocracy, Daniel Quinn’s definitive Ishmael novel and even Native American mythology to suggest that mankind, in its arrogance in thinking it’s the end product of evolution, might have doomed itself to extinction. And the end isn’t too far away.
“‘Disheartening’ isn’t even a strong enough word for it,” growls Burhenn on the state of today’s shallow, greed-driven society. “And it’s just like, well, what can you do in the face of all this? Is it too late? And maybe it is. But that’s kind of where I started my record, by posing a question. And the first question I asked in the very first song, ‘Karma Debt,’ is, ‘What is my role as a musician? And even if I sing my lungs out about this, is it going to make a difference?’ And what it comes to is that bridge in the song: ‘I’d give it all for a legacy of love.’ So, it was all very personal to me, and it breaks my heart and makes me want to do something.”
Remember Redd Kross? The band formed more than 30 years ago from the L.A. punk scene, while opening for acts like Black Flag. Now, Red Kross is back after a 15-year hiatus. New single “Researching The Blues,” off Researching The Blues (out August 7 via Merge), is straightforward, guitar-shredding rock ‘n’ roll. Download it below.