MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of The Flesh Eaters’ “My Life To Live” Video

It’s been 40 long years since the release of the Flesh Eaters‘ self-titled debut EP and 14 years since their last album. But on January 18, Chris D. and his supergroup backing band—guitarist Dave Alvin and drummer Bill Bateman (both Blasters), bassist John Doe and percussionist D.J. Bonebrake (both X) and saxophonist Steve Berlin (Los Lobos)—will release new album I Used To Be Pretty via Yep Roc. Not only did all the participants co-produce the LP, all of them will be touring together in support of the album. (If you’re up on your L.A. punk history—and of a certain age—you’ll no doubt notice this version of the Flesh Eaters is the same exact one that recorded the band’s 1981 masterpiece, A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die.)

But back to the future—and the past as well. The Flesh Eaters just made a video for I Used To Be Pretty track “My Life To Live.” If longtime fans think that song title sounds extremely familiar, they obviously have some brain cells still working after all these years. We’ll turn it over to Chris D. to explain.

“I originally wrote ‘My Life To Live’ back in 1982, that version appearing on the third Flesh Eaters album, Forever Came Today,” he says. “It’s a love song, but it’s coming from a fierce place, full of contradictions. I wrote the lyrics about someone I was deeply in love with then and for several years thereafter. She would come to every Flesh Eaters show and even now is still a fan and a friend. At the time, she had another boyfriend, but there was a window of time where she seemed poised to get together with me. I got conflicting signals and behavior from her about the situation. Most of her girlfriends saw me as the dark, intellectual weirdo and the other guy as a more agreeable, normal choice. So it was a frustrating situation for about six months or so, before she gravitated back to him exclusively. When you’re in your late 20s/early 30s, I think some of us have a more straightforward, direct approach to going after who we want as a mate, ignoring certain perspectives on personality and relationship ‘wisdom’ acquired from experience that we might solidify later. The video is aimed at a younger generation, but it still gets that feeling across of holding on uncompromisingly to an ideal or a dream, no matter what the cost. Sometimes—like at the end of the video when an older embodiment of the character has to let go of his beloved truck—we don’t always have a choice, and dreams are destroyed by forces beyond our control. This whole idea also fits in the with the I Used To Be Pretty album title, aging physically, but still emotionally in a ‘younger,’ more idealistic place.”

Well, there you have it, kids of all ages. No matter how old or young you are, it’s your life to live. So act accordingly.

We’re proud to premiere the video for “My Life To Live” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, pre-order I Used To Be Pretty, and catch this twice-in-a-lifetime lineup of the Flesh Eaters on tour starting in January.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Doug Paisley’s “Shadows”

Among other things, Doug Paisley is a firm advocate of efficiency. “Shadows”—available here as a free download—is the final track on Starter Home (No Quarter), a new collection of nine songs that’s just 34 minutes in length.

“There’s a lot of stuff left out in terms of the number of songs recorded and the number of versions we did,” admits Paisley. “But can you ever objectively say an album is too short or too long? If you like it, it’s too short—and if you don’t, it’s too long. I do think shorter albums are better for many reasons.”

The Toronto-based singer/songwriter took his time on this one, recording in four different studios around his home city as he went about the business of being an attentive father to his now five-year-old son. He fleshed out many of the tunes with a revolving lineup of local musicians during an on-and-off residency at Toronto’s Cameron House. And though it may have taken four years to hatch, Starter Home hardly sounds fussed over—quite the opposite. Its quiet disposition is a noticeable contrast to the more rugged full-band sound on 2014’s Strong Feelings.

“I don’t know if it’s the songs or the recording that makes it so much more dialed back,” says Paisley. “I was going for something a little more layered, with everything anchored around guitar and voice. Not that you’d necessarily detect this, but it’s still done live, for the most part. But the process was spread out over time and space.”

That gives Starter Home an unexpected cohesion as a compelling collection of moments, with Paisley’s Waylon-Jennings-by-way-of-Gordon-Lightfoot delivery and subtly intricate guitar picking providing the grounding. It’s an album that rewards patience, the songs revealing their subtle complexities over time as they draw you ever further into Paisley’s world.

“I’m a really big fan of (late country singer/songwriter) Don Williams,” says Paisley. “On his (1978) album Expressions, I initially thought there was so little going on. Then I looked at the credits for each song, and in some cases there were, like, 10 players. Something that really influenced me was how well they integrated that stuff and not have it all be at the same volume, marching in line. If these songs have achieved that at all, then it would be a real success for me.”

If you believe what you hear on Starter Home, Paisley is wrestling with the typical contradictions, urges, fears and obligations that come with maintaining an uneasy domesticity. “We’re not fighting, we’re just talking,” he sings on the title track. “Can’t you see my point of view?”

Says Paisley of the tune’s inspiration, “I was having a domestic quarrel over the telephone, and I went and wrote that song. For the most part, it has nothing to with my own life, but it was very much coming out of the state of mind I was in at the time.”

“Shadows” is the album’s most upbeat track—a persistent shuffle that recalls Jim Croce’s “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” with a playful slide lick that will take up permanent residence in your short-term memory. At three minutes even, it leaves you wanting more.

“Some people had a bad reaction to it, but I was just like, ‘I don’t care—I love this song,’” says Paisley. “When I got back from the studio, I listened to over and over again because I was so happy with it.”

—Hobart Rowland

“Shadows” (download):

MAGNET Exclusive: Lindi Ortega Pays Tribute To Leonard Cohen On The Second Anniversary Of His Death

While most of the music world (and a huge portion of the “non-music” world) remembers the incomparable Leonard Cohen on the second anniversary of his death, Lindi Ortega decided to do something more. Not only did Ortega (like Cohen, a native of Canada; he’s from Montreal, she’s from Toronto) cover “Suzanne” (Cohen’s debut single from 1967), she curated a playlist of her favorite Cohen songs, covered by artists she admires, including Nick Cave, Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Antony and Jeff Buckley.

Ortega’s great take on “Suzanne” (a Cohen-penned song made famous by Judy Collins the year before he recorded his own version of it) is available now on digital streaming services. Ortega recorded it as part of the Polaris Music Prize “Cover Sessions,” and her version is part of a limited-edition, three-song, gold-vinyl 10-inch also featuring Jean-Michel Blais (covering Feist’s “Mushaboom”) and Weaves (covering Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”).

As for the Cohen-covers playlist she curated, we asked Ortega about five of the tracks she chose. Here’s what she had to say:

“Hallelujah” (Jeff Buckley)
“This song is lyrically so masterful and I adore the original. However, Jeff Buckley took it to the next level with his incredible voice. This was the first cover I had heard of Hallelujah – another favorite is k.d. lang’s version – but, I picked Buckley’s on account of nostalgia. It brings all the memories and all the feels.”

“Joan Of Arc” (Jennifer Warnes)
“I only heard about the remarkable Jennifer Warnes after learning she was Cohen’s backup singer and released a record of his songs that featured a few duets with him. The original is not sung as a duet, but it’s amazing how Warnes and Cohen make it feel as if it was always supposed to be a duet. Warnes has such a gorgeous voice. She sings his songs beautifully, and this dark-love-story of song is no exception.”

“If It Be Your Will” (Antony)
“I couldn’t dream of anyone who could do this song as much justice as Antony. He has such a striking original voice, but beyond that, there is an aching in his tone and inflection that makes it all the more gut-wrenching.”

“Bird On A Wire” (Johnny Cash)
“Of course I had to pick this song—I have it tattooed on my wrist. It’s my favorite Leonard Cohen song. The lyric “I have tried, in my way, to be free” is the very reason I fell in love with the work of Leonard Cohen. Put that together with my favorite country badass of all time, and I call that that a match made in the heaven … of my dreams.”

“Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” (Roberta Flack)
“There ain’t much to say here other than Flack has one hell of a voice, and this is one hell of a version of this song. This is another one of Cohen’s songs that gets covered by many. But few hold a candle to Roberta Flack.”

R.I.P. Leonard Cohen (1934–2016)

MAGNET Exclusive: Guided By Voices Announces New Album (“Warp And Woof”), MAGNET Premieres New Song (“Cohesive Scoops”)

It sounded a little iffy when Robert Pollard proclaimed that Space Gun, released in March, would be 2018’s sole Guided By Voices record. While true, it turns out that fanboys jonesing for new GBV product will get their fix before the year is out after all. (Go with the premise, people; the bizarrely amazing Cash Rivers stuff doesn’t count here.)

The details are a little tricky, so pay attention. On Feb. 1, 2019, GBV’s double-LP Zeppelin Over China hits real and virtual shops. In April, yet another outing, Warp And Woof, will land. In a move that’ll satiate the anxious faithful, Pollard has broken up Warp And Woof—recorded both in studio and while on tour—into four limited-edition (1,000 copies) vinyl-only EPs, each featuring six of the record’s 24 tracks. The first two—Winecork Stonehenge and 100 Dougsarrive December 7; Umlaut Over The Özone and 1901 Acid Rock are slated for March. (Oh, and—deep breath—a third full-length, Rise Of The Ants, is scheduled for October.)

To celebrate all of this welcome GBV activity—and beloved Uncle Bob’s 61st birthday today—MAGNET is thrilled to premiere the Warp And Woof/100 Dougs song “Cohesive Scoops,” yet another slice of effortlessly ingratiating Pollard wizardry.

“Get Warped and Woof it up!” says Pollard via email.

You got it, Bob.

Pollard and crew will continue to pound stages till 2018’s end, concluding with another New Year’s Eve show in Chicago. What could go wrong?

—Matt Hickey

Tour Dates
November 9, Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles
November 10, Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
November 13, Wonder Ballroom, Portland
November 14, The Crocodile, Seattle
December 30, First Avenue, Minneapolis
December 31, Bottom Lounge, Chicago

Winecork Stonehenge
100 Dougs

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Richard Lloyd’s “Smoke”

45 years ago, Richard Lloyd co-founded Television, whose 1977 Marquee Moon is one of guitar rock’s greatest debut albums. The six-string tandem of Lloyd and frontman Tom Verlaine is as influential on indie/alternative rock as any that came before or later. After turning off the Television two years after Marquee Moon (the NYC band has reformed twice and still plays shows, now sans Lloyd), he embarked on a solo career and also played with the likes of Matthew Sweet and John Doe.

The past few years have been particularly fruitful for Lloyd, who turned 67 last Thursday. 2016 brought Rosedale, his seventh solo album, which featured Lloyd playing the majority of the music on the LP. Last year saw the release of Everything Is Combustible: Television, CBGB’s And Five Decades Of Rock And Roll, an excellent, humorous memoir featuring stories every rock ‘n’ roll nerd needs to read immediately. (Lucky for us, it’s out in paperback on Friday.) Now comes The Countdown (Plowboy), Lloyd’s latest solo album (also out on Friday) .

Lloyd, who currently lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., and is also a visual artist, recorded the 10-track The Countdown in Nashville with a pair of Music City session players (bassist Dave Roe and drummer Steve Ebe) over the course of only two days. He then added to the songs, careful not to lose the live feel of the basic tracks. The result is yet another garage-y power-pop effort from one of alt-rock’s boldest-yet-tasteful guitarists.

One of The Countdown‘s standouts is second track “Smoke,” a punchy, catchy mid-tempo rocker that’s also a bit of a bittersweet ride down Memory Lane for Lloyd. “‘Smoke’ harkens back to one of my first loves—a girl who broke my heart,” he says. “I wrote the song in wistful remembrance of that tragic relationship.”

We’re proud to premiere “Smoke” today on magnetmagazine.com. Let the smoke get in your eyes, and check it out now.

The Countdown tracklising below.

The Countdown
1 “Wind In The Rain”
2 “Smoke”
3 “So Sad”
4 “Run”
5 “Whisper”
6 “I Can Tell”
7 “Just My Heart”
8 “Something Remains”
9 “Down The Drain”
10 “Countdown”

MAGNET Exclusive: 

Premiere Of The Herbert Bail Orchestra’s “Mountain Bar”

A half-decade between albums might’ve snuffed out most bands, but the Herbert Bail Orchestra isn’t your average band. The vaguely mysterious Los Angeles entity is fronted by Anthony Frattolillo, who’s been enjoying some success as a filmmaker since being selected for the Cannes Young Lions Program in 2014. So that makes the new, self-released History’s Made At Night, a labor of love, more or less.

“I’m in it for the long arc,” says Frattolillo.

The Herbert Bail Orchestra certainly has evolved since 2013’s The Future’s In The Past, which helped peg the group as a gypsy-folk collective. A few moments on History’s Made At Night further that already dated trend, but “Mountain Bar” isn’t one of them. Available here as a free download, this modestly cinematic wonder is more in line with the laid-back Laurel Canyon vibe of other standout tunes like “Hometown Honey,” “Cherokee” and “Headed North Again.” Lyrically, “Mountain Bar” reflects on a memorable early gig for Frattolillo, though the overall gist is less about backtracking than moving on with one’s life.

“It was a packed house, the crowd was going crazy, and they turned on the lights,” says Frattolillo. “So we set up in the middle of the square outside, people started coming out, and the police came, because it was like 2 a.m.”

Unless you live on the West Coast, don’t expect to see the Herbert Bail Orchestra in a town near you. “We’ve tried the touring thing already,” says Frattolillo. “It’s wild to me that there’s not more support for baby bands—that they have to make such an investment in touring. Often I find myself in van with a production crew hauling gear, and I’m thinking, ‘Wait a second, I decided I didn’t want to do this anymore.’ Then I realize it’s for a film, and I’m actually being paid.”

—Hobart Rowland

“Mountain Bar” (download):

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of The Persian Leaps’ “Not That Brave (Radio K Version)”

On October 12, the Persian Leaps will release Pop That Goes Crunch (Land Ski), an 18-song compilation of material culled from the band’s five EPs. It’s not surprising the Saint Paul, Minn., trio chose the fall to issue this anthology. Between 2013 and last year, the Drew Forsberg-led outfit has released a new five-song EP each autumn: debut Praise Elephants (’13), Drive Drive Delay (’14), High & Vibrate (’15), Underwater (’16) and Bicycle Face (’17). Pop That Goes Crunch collects 17 remixed/remastered tracks from these five releases as well as one new single.

“Not That Brave” is from Praise Elephants, and soon after its release, the Persian Leaps performed the song live on the University Of Minnesota’s Radio K. Forsberg and Co. thought the live version was far superior to the EP version, so the band took the drums, bass and lead-guitar tracks from the radio performance and Forsberg redid the vocals and the rest of the guitars to create a new take on the song.

Lyrically, “Not That Brave” is as relevant today as when it was written and originally recorded. Says Forsberg, “It’s a song about bystander effect—the phenomenon where you’re less likely to help a victim when other people are present. In 2012, I was riding on a Metro train in Paris and saw what appeared to be a group of teenage boys bullying an awkward-looking, possibly gay man. My French was hopeless, so I couldn’t be sure, but from the body language, it looked like the boys were loudly saying cruel things about the man standing near them while he kept his gaze down, blushed and did his best to ignore them. Of course, I wasn’t brave enough to speak up and stop them, and I felt guilty about it afterward. So, the song is based on that moment where you know you should help someone, but you just aren’t brave enough to actually do it.”

We are proud to premiere “Not That Brave (Radio K Version)” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Aaron Lee Tasjan’s “Heart Slows Down”

The final version of Aaron Lee Tasjan’s “Heart Slows Down” was a long time coming. Available here as an exclusive free download, the song was initially written with 12-string guitar in mind for Tasjan’s 2016 release, Silver Tears. But it wasn’t until recording was well underway for the new Karma For Cheap (New West) that the tune found its legs with the propulsive strumming of an acoustic guitar.

It was worth the wait. With its offhanded catchiness and shambling chorus, “Heart Slows Down” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Tom Petty solo album. Its excellence bodes well for the rest of Karma, which sheds the Americana trappings Tasjan co-opted to coincide with his move from Brooklyn to East Nashville. In it’s place is a slightly off-kilter power-pop/folk-rock hybrid that properly pays it’s respects to the Petty/Jeff Lynne tandem, the Beatles and a handful of Tasjan’s earliest influences as a young kid growing up in Ohio.

“In my world, acts like the Raspberries, Cheap Trick and Dwight Twilley are my roots music,” says Tasjan. “That’s why a gravitated toward rock bands in New York. I think I made rootsier music when I got to Nashville really just to try and fit in.”

In the years prior to his solo turn, the gifted guitarist’s work with edgy glam-pop outfit Semi Precious Weapons and as a sideman for the likes of Everest, Drivin’ N Cryin’ and the New York Dolls paid the bills and established connections that would come in handy when he ventured out on his own. There’s also Tasjan’s flukey affiliation with Sheryl Crow, which began when she heard Silver Tears’ “Little Movies” in a Starbucks. That led to an opening slot for a series of Crow performances, along with an invitation to use her Brentwood, Tenn., studio. Some of those sessions found their way onto Karma.

The album was co-produced by Tasjan, award-winning Crow collaborator Jeff Trott and Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.), and it features his touring band: bassist Tommy Scifres, drummer Seth Earnest and guitarist Brian Wright (a respected singer/songwriter in his own right). “I went in expecting the worst-case scenario, but it’s been exciting—I enjoy the challenge,” says Tasjan of his relatively new role as frontman. “Brian is so magnetic onstage, and he’s a great reference point for me. He’s been great at saying, ‘Man, you’re overthinking it. It’s not gonna work every time.”

Karma For Cheap is available on all downloading and streaming services. Check out tour dates here.

—Hobart Rowland

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Perry Serpa’s “In Too Deep” From “Wherefore Art Thou? Songs Inspired By Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked”

It’s no surprise that Nick Hornby’s 2009 novel Juliet, Naked was turned into a movie. After all, his High Fidelity, About Boy and Fever Pitch have all ended up getting the big-time, big-screen treatment. But the esteemed Mr. Hornby probably never imagined while writing Juliet, Naked that it would be turned into an album.

Enter Perry Serpa, main man of the vastly underrated, long-running Sharp Things and a music-biz lifer (one of the good ones, incidentally). Serpa read the novel, which mentions—in classic Hornbian detail—a 10-track album by the central character, singer/songwriter Tucker Crowe. Serpa, for some reason, could not let this LP remain only on the pages of the book. So he decided to create the album himself.

The result of Serpa’s obsession is Wherefore Art Thou? Songs Inspired By Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked, out digitally October 5 via Schoolkids (in the U.K. via Shifty Disco, which will release it on CD a month later). Obviously with the LP, Serpa has taken the concept of “music nerd” to a whole new level, but he ups the ante by bringing together a geek squad of fellow musicians, friends and family members to help him out: Scott McCaughey (Minus 5, R.E.M., Baseball Project, et al), Laura Cantrell, Aja Warren, Edward Rogers and Don Piper, Aidan Serpa (Perry’s guitar-prodigy son) and more.

Though these contributors add some diversity to the musical proceedings, what’s most impressive about Wherefore Art Thou? is that it’s mostly Serpa by his lonesome, creating not only a great album but also one that holds its own with its source material. In lesser hands, this concept could’ve easily been a disaster on par with one of Rob Fleming’s breakups.

Even Hornby is impressed. “I love every song, words and music,” he says. “I’m happy to think that my book has somehow produced work this good. It works completely on its own terms—and sounds complete in a way that very few albums do anymore.”

Wherefore Art Thou?‘s latest single “In Too Deep” is an instantly catchy, mature, mid-tempo rocker (complete with killer yacht-rock sax courtesy of John “The Mogul” Barron) that deserves to wind up on its own romcom soundtrack someday. Says Serba of the track, “The lyrics deeply over-dramatize the buckling of a relationship—in this case, the novel’s protagonist/anti-hero Tucker Crowe’s, with his married muse. But it’s something we can all relate to: that sinking feeling. Many of the references are literal and are handed to us by Hornby, although this is not one of the handful of album tracks from which I snagged one of his couplets. It’s all my doing, logistically, but with in terms of inspiration, it’s all his.”

We’re proud to premiere “In Too Deep” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now. And be sure to buy Wherefore Art Thou? when it comes out. Not only is it a stellar album, a portion of the proceeds will go to Ambitious About Autism, a U.K. national charity co-founded by Hornby for children and young people with autism.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Salim Nourallah’s “A Betrayal”

It may take a village to raise a child, but it seems it takes more than 20 online magazines to debut an album. If you look up “ambitious” in the dictionary (millennials, that’s what we used before Google), you’ll find a photo of Salim Nourallah. Not only is the latest album from the Dallas-based singer/songwriter (and producer: Old 97’s, Damnwells, Rhett Miller, Deathray Davies) a sprawling, 21-track double LP, Nourallah is introducing each track as a separate premiere via a different outlet every weekday leading up to Somewhere South Of Sane‘s September 28 release date on Palo Santo. So MAGNET is excited to join frenemies such as PopMatters, Ghettoblaster, Atwood, Glide and 16 other online rags to introduce you to the heaping helping of new material from this underrated musicians’ musician before the album is out. It’s a lot to digest, kids, but it’s so worth your time.

Today we’re at track number 10, about halfway through Somewhere South Of Sane. “A Betrayal” is definitely one of the standout tracks from the set, which is one of the reasons we were so happy to snag it for this MAGNET premiere. It’s a dark, fingerpicked, mostly acoustic number that’s haunting and chilling and will appeal instantly to fans of Jeff Tweedy (in Loose Fur mode), Bill Callahan (Smog), Jason Molina (Songs:Ohia) and David Berman (Silver Jews). Which is to say that if you’re isolating while listening to “A Betrayal,” you might want to either unload the gun or put down the bottle.

Like all great songs, there’s more to it than meets the ears lyrically, so we asked Nourallah to give us a little (well, a lot) of background on “A Betrayal.” And, boy, did he: “The waves of past hurts that live in our subconscious roll in and retreat, often unexpectedly,” he says. “Sometimes we think, ‘Maybe this one’s finally gone for good?’ They usually come back, though. And when they do, sometimes they’re more devastating than they ever were before. Even when you know you’re over something or someone and you know you’re in a better place, they can still come banging in. You get a blast of resentment or bitterness or, in the case of ‘A Betrayal,’ abject sadness. I’d been having a series of vivid dreams involving my ex-wife. This had been going on for a couple of months, intermittently, then it ramped up to every night over the course of an entire week. They’d begun to weigh on me. I would wake up feeling like I’d been on a drinking bender the night before or someone had clobbered me on the head with a lead mallet 100 times.

“‘A Betrayal’ is not just about my failed marriage—it’s what the hidden parts of my psyche were forcing me to deal with. My own subconscious was now betraying me. The betrayal of our marriage was old news. I was over it—I was very happy with my new life. My subconscious wouldn’t have that, though. It was forcing me to keep reliving the past, and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get away from it. As much as we’d all often love to—and as much as we all try—you can’t flip the ‘silent’ switch on your subconscious. This song was an attempt to flip that switch. On the third verse, I literally send my former bride into the ocean. I effectively drown her memory in an attempt to also drown my own subconscious. I guess it worked. The dreams stopped after I wrote this song.”

We’re proud to premiere “A Betrayal” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, and if you live in the Lone Star State, check out Nourallah live on his Texas tour (dates below):

Texas Tour Dates
10/11 Fort Worth, Fort Worth Live
10/12 San Antonio, Tobin Center For The Performing Arts
10/13 Austin, Cactus Cafe
10/15 Marfa, Hotel Saint George
10/16 Houston, Warehouse Live
10/18 Denton, PAAC Arts Center
10/19 Dallas, Palo Santo Galactic Headquarters
10/20 Dallas, Palo Santo Galactic Headquarters