MAGNET Exclusive: Matt Pond PA’s “Closer (Demo)”

Matt Pond PA is dead. Long live Collected Lakes! But in the meantime, Matt Pond PA (the band) is clearing out its old hard drives and planning to release one posthumous album a year for the near future. Matt Pond (the man) explains.

My streetwalking how-do-you-do is a series of choreographed spasms that culminate in a curvature of lips and teeth akin to a frightened cartoon fox. My bravery at the post office often feels profound. 

Our modern existence might be a little askew—and these electronic proclamations may not be all that profound—but still, I insist on shouting from the top of this dirty snow bank. I have to believe my modest broadcasts matter more than the undone dishes or the bills building a fortress around the front door.

I mostly speak through music because I don’t totally know how to rely on human contact. For me, trusting people is terrifying. Yet, I like human beings. I do. I like their unedited faces, their messed-up thoughts and hair. I like their ability to survive themselves. That is the most important application in myself: a setting of survival. I like sitting across the table from you. Even when you have spinach in your teeth, and my laughter resembles a wild boar snuffling in your garden. 

And love. Love is an amazing supernatural muscle. (Cue Spectral Display’s “It Takes A Muscle.”)

We’ve uncovered overgrown mountains of Matt Pond PA songs. Hence, we’re going to release an album every year until all the past lyrical ranges have been revealed. Here is a free one: “Closer (Demo)” from A Collection of Bees Part 1, out in February. (All the way back to when Mike Kennedy slapped the mattress as a kick drum, tapped a piece of paper with a pencil eraser for the snare. The reverberations led to words, that led to guitars, which turned a studio bedroom shuffle into a proper song.)

Chris Hansen and I were chosen to score two films in the upcoming three-program screening series Other Histories: Amateur Films On The National Film Registry. The series, which is curated by the Center For Home Movies, premieres on the weekend of January 10-12, 2020, at the Roy And Niuta Titus Theater as part of MoMA’s landmark Private Lives Public Spaces exhibition of amateur films and home movies from their collection.  

In the future—and as it has previously been proclaimed—we shall be called Collected Lakes. It’s a shout-out to the collaborative efforts in all our musical undertakings. The part I love about your note, resting right on top of my note. 

These trajectories have many arcs. There are so many different ways to see ourselves; there are so many different ways to be seen. The simple truth is that I’m sitting in a winter coat next to my canine rescue empress, mouthing these words as I type, hoping to get through a maze of algorithms to somehow make sense to you.

Can anyone believe how strange it is to be anything at all? 

((((Happy Holidays!))) 

End proclamation

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Marshall Crenshaw’s “Twenty-Five Forty-One”

Marshall Crenshaw has regained ownership of the five albums he issued on Razor & Tie Records. So the longtime MAGNET fave will release revised editions of the LPs—1996’s Miracle Of Science, 1999’s #447 and 2003’s What’s In The Bag?, plus 1994’s live My Truck Is My Home and 1998 collection The 9 Volt Years—on vinyl as well as all digital platforms via his Shiny-Tone label (distributed by Megaforce).

Crenshaw kicks things off January 17 with an overhauled Miracle Of Science, which features bonus tracks such as covers of Daniel Wylie’s “Misty Dreamer” and Michel Pagliaro’s “What The Hell I Got.” Aside from them, Crenshaw not only had changes made to the Grammy-nominated artwork, but he tinkered with a few of the songs themselves. “New” track “Rouh Na Selim Neves” is actually the LP’s “Seven Miles An Hour” backward.

Of the album’s handful of covers, the highlight has always been Crenshaw’s take on “Twenty-Five Forty-One.” The original song is off Intolerance, the debut solo album from Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart. It’s hard to believe Hart’s version came out 30 years ago yesterday.

“’Twenty-Five Forty-One’ is one of my all-time favorite rock tracks, by anybody, not just me,” says Crenshaw. “It’s a classic song by the great Grant Hart, and the Nashville guys and I just blow it up real good. A beautiful explosion. I heard the Robert Forster cover version first and learned the backstory of the song later on. I know that it was personal for Grant, but it’s pretty relatable.”

We’re proud to premiere Crenshaw’s version of “Twenty-Five Forty-One” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Daniel Martin Moore’s “Lay A Wreath” Video

On October 4, Daniel Martin Moore will release ninth album Never Look Away (SofaBurn). In the past, the Kentucky singer/songwriter has collaborated with the like of Jim James, Ben Sollee, Joan Shelley and others. On Never Look Away, Moore’s main partner in crime is producer/multi-instrumentalist Seth Kauffman (Floating Action), with whom basic tracks were recorded in North Carolina before Moore took them back home with him to flesh them out and finish them with a little help from his friends.

This collaborative spirit is definitely apparent on side-one closer “Lay A Wreath,” whose video we’re proud to premiere today on magnetmagazine.com. Says Moore, “This song and video are a broad-ranging collaboration between many artists I admire. Seth co-produced and played drums and bass. Scott Moore and Charlie Patton played the strings that soar and soar. And musician/artist Jeremy Ylvisaker—and his children, Max and Jonny—made this memory-like video.  I hope y’all enjoy what we’ve done.”

We hope y’all do, too. Check out “Lay A Wreath” now, and if you find yourself in the Bluegrass State next month, check out Moore on one of his handful of dates there.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Hiss Golden Messenger’s “Cat’s Eye Blue”

Fatherhood can dredge up a twisted mass of mixed emotions. That’s the inspiration, more or less, behind “Cat’s Eye Blue” from Hiss Golden Messenger’s eighth album, Terms Of Surrender (Merge). “My dad has a lot of qualities that feel sort of endemic to [a certain] generation of American white men,” says HGM’s M.C. Taylor, struggling a bit to gather his thoughts about the song, which you can listen to below. “There’s something rooted in masculinity that has to with not being able to communicate emotionally. There’s this need among older men to hide any sort of sensitivity, which makes genuine communication difficult.”

Terms Of Surrender’s theoretical side-one closer, “Cat’s Eye Blue” unfolds like a pulsing, hypnotic lullaby—perhaps to his own children. “Part of my job as a human is to try and be more emotionally open, because I don’t want my kids to struggle communicating with me as we all get older,” says Taylor.

The 10 tracks that made it onto Terms Of Surrender were among at least 40 recorded in various hotel rooms, a secluded cottage near Charlottesville, Va., and Taylor’s home studio in Durham, N.C. The album features regular collaborators Phil and Brad Cook, Josh Kaufman and Matt McCaughan, along with contributions from Jenny Lewis and the National’s Aaron Dessner. Dessner’s studio in upstate New York served as a recording site, as did Sound City in Los Angeles and producer Roger Moutenot’s Haptown Studio in Nashville. It may well be HGM’s most “produced” album, though it hardly feels fussed over. “We kind of wandered around making this record—and that was intentional,” says Taylor. “I wanted to be able to listen to it and think about the wandering that was happening while we were making it.”

If there’s a recurring theme on Terms Of Surrender, it’s the push-and-pull between aspiration and reality. “It’s me asking myself if I’m prepared to sacrifice in order to live the life I thought I wanted,” says Taylor. “The life I thought I wanted was to play music with my friends, wander around the world and connect with people through my music, and have a deep and loving relationship with my family. That’s easy stuff to say and hope for.”

If only the reality weren’t so messy. “I’ve struggled with a lot of anxiety,” says Taylor. “I’ve struggled with depression. I think part of it is genetic, and part of it is the times we’re living in and my own personal journey of trying to make this thing that I love to do pay the bills, be a good, present father and also be an engaged artist. There are a lot of things I want to do—and do well—in a way that feels genuine to me.”

And you’d hope every father would be on board that.

—Hobart Rowland

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Simon Joyner’s “Yellow Jacket Blues”

Twenty-five years separate Simon Joyner’s first LP from Pocket Moon, his forthcoming record (Grapefruit, October 25), which includes “Yellow Jacket Blues.” The Omaha singer/songwriter has been held up as an example of peak songcraft by fellow tunesmiths as disparate as Conor Oberst, Gillian Welch and Beck. His bank account probably doesn’t match any of theirs, but if you measure success by how many songs he has written that show you the truth in all its messy complexity, he’s one of the richest writers around. 

Joyner’s antecedents and inspirations aren’t hard to spot. You’ll see a bit of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan in his elegant handling of rough situations and lyrics that confront you, outflank you and show you the way home. He’s a guy who can roll a dream of Lou Reed and some lines borrowed from Yoko Ono and Woody Guthrie into a literally barn-storming (as in played on a piano that was mostly wrecked when a tornado knocked down Joyner’s barn) protest against good old-fashioned American injustice. But he’s also the guy who can lay out a cross-generational family fight so empathetically that you’ll feel like you’ve walked in both sides’ shoes. 

Most of the time, Joyner works with a close circle of Nebraskans, but his most enduring musical compadre is Arizona producer/guitarist Michael Krassner. This time, Joyner let Krassner pick the players, and the result is an album that stands apart from most of his discography in subtle ways at the same time that it’s of a piece with the whole catalog lyrically.

“Yellow Jacket Blues” is by no means the first time that first time that Joyner has reached into his bag and pulled out C&W sounds and Biblical imagery. This time, however, he’s stepped back and let the rest of the crew buff the arrangements until they attain a muted, immaculate, but non-distracting glow. The sounds nicely frame the song’s cinematic flow, which takes in a literary argument, a misanthrope’s bloviation and a bedbug scare en route to posing an insight that the same force that drives bugs to drown themselves in your drink brings about new life.

We’re proud to premiere “Yellow Jacket Blues” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now.

—Bill Meyer