Every longtime MAGNET reader should recognize the big, bearded fella in the above photo. Why, yes, on the drums, it’s Mr. Russell Simins, ladies and gentlemen. While on tour with main gig the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion five years ago, Simins met We Are Hex frontwoman Jilly Weiss. They started hanging out, wrote some songs, fell in love, got married and formed a band: S-E-R-V-I-C-E. With multi-instrumentalist Sharlene Birdsong, guitarist Mitch Geisinger and bassist Johnny Zeps, the duo recorded a rockin’ ‘n’ wailin’ debut album called Drag Me, which is out early next year. But you don’t have to wait until then to get serviced by Russell, Jilly and Co. Today we’re bringing you first single “Hey,” a caterwauling assault of a post-punk song that will help you end your bummer summer on a high note. We’re proud to premiere “Hey” right here, right now on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out.
For every office drone who has let out a silent, frustrated scream in her cubicle and for every keyboard warrior who has figuratively slammed his forehead onto a desktop with utter hopelessness, there’s Chronic Anxiety. The Philadelphia trio is shouting, shrieking and banging things for you, channeling workplace frustration and modern-world angst into an unrelenting howl on debut full-length Canopy Shyness (Bunny Cat). Taking pages from Bikini Kill, Babes In Toyland and early White Lung and then shredding them, singer Ambr (no e), guitarist Hi Boi and drummer Hey Boi (names have been changed to protect them from employers) deliver two-minute assaults on bosses and bureaucracy.
“Ambr (no e) takes a lot of direct quotes from shit heard at work or things that are going on and then twists them together into word collages,” says Hi Boi who, like his bandmates, has held a federal or municipal government job at some point. “Maybe it’s just screaming into a void. But so many people feel the same way, so sharing and communicating that frustration is productive to being able to overcome it, or simply cope. I think that’s why Chronic Anxiety is a good name for our band, because we all suffer and experience similar things and how we cope or don’t cope heavily affects our lives.”
That experience manifests itself on “Open Floor Plan,” a Wire-y (circa Pink Flag) rant and “Central HR,” a sludgy crawl through a rough day at the office. As raw and sharp-edged as Canopy Shyness can sound, it’s noticeably cleaner than the band’s 2017 EP Faxed, a warped-reality set of songs that were processed through a beat-up, speed-varying tape machine. Chronic Anxiety recorded both releases in a former Amoroso bakery, a concrete box dubbed the Death Bakery that’s used as a shared practice space with a sonically diverse set of Philly bands such as punk slashers Great Weights and psych outfit Impressionist. As for Chronic Anxiety’s next move, Hi Boi indicates they’re upgrading to a nicer studio for an upcoming vinyl release.
“Don’t worry, though,” he says, “it’ll still be nice and shitty.”
We’re proud to premiere Canopy Shyness on magnetmagazine.com. The album is out August 31, and you can pre-order it here.
While most 14-year-old, music-obsessed girls sit in their bedrooms making playlists, Sevi Ettinger was instead writing songs to fill these playlists. And not just tunes about boys and, well, boys. No, Ettinger—an American living in Shanghai—was penning tracks like “Salty Water,” which addresses the Syrian refugee crisis that was upsetting her so much that she felt the need do something about it. So she picked up her smartphone and recorded “Salty Water” via an app and utilizing a backing track she found online that was written by Texas musician Nate McCray. Within an hour, the song was done.
After her father posted the track online, it was discovered by Phillip Jarrell, who co-wrote ’70s smash “Torn Between Two Lovers” (ask your grandparents, kids) and helped the now-15-year-old Ettinger make a video for “Salty Water.” Jarrell introduced Ettinger’s music to Grammy-winning producer Jeff Bova (Celine Dion, Cyndi Lauper, Katy Perry), who signed on to make a record with her. The result is the four-song Salty Water EP, out August 24 via Sevillana.
We’re proud to premiere the remarkable video for “Salty Water” by this up-and-coming talent today on magnetmagazine.com. Says the wise-beyond-her-years Ettinger, a successful fundraiser for UN refugee agency USA For UNHCR, of “Salty Water,” “I create music to give others a chance to be heard. When I was sitting in my room watching the Syrian refugees fleeing their homes, leaving everything behind, I knew they needed to be heard. My hope in writing the song is to share their voice, express their pain and show their tears. My dream is for all people to be free—to be who they want to be.”
Sunglass Moustache is not only the title of Ben Millburn‘s debut album but also the name of the group of musicians he surrounds himself with. The Austin-based, Louisiana-born musician will self-release the 11-track LP on September 14, and it comes after a handful of EPs he also issued himself. While Sunglass Moustache—made up of eight songs recorded in two days, studio improvisations and home-recorded material—isn’t a concept album, Millburn decided to make it just that via a series of 11 self-written and self-directed videos (one for each track on the LP) following a character named Mr. Tuxedo and, according to Millburn, “his rise and reign in power” as well as his adventures with Mustang Billy, Mr. Taco and others.
Since we’re premiering the clip for Mr. Tuxedo’s titular track today, we asked Millburn for some insight into the song and video. He responded, “The side effects of ambition, Frank Zappa, classical music, dub, Beck, YouTube interviews with Monica Lewinsky.” We’re guessing he’s talking about the song itself and not the video, but as Millburn is a guy who spends a lot of time with dudes named Mr. Tuxedo, Mustang Billy and Mr. Taco, we can’t be so sure.
Regardless, we’re proud to premiere the video for “Mr. Tuxedo” today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now, and as a bonus, here’s the album trailer for Sunglass Moustache:
Hot off an extensive U.S. tour this summer, including dates opening for Lake Street Dive, the Rad Trads are readying the release of sophomore album On Tap, out September 14. Of course, the NYC-based fivesome—known for its genre-defying, entertaining-for-everyone live performances—will immediately hit the road again for many more dates supporting the nine-track LP.
We’ve been racking our brains since we first encountered the Rad Trads, trying to think of another band that has five leader singers, but we couldn’t come up with any. That not one of these transplants from Portland, Chicago and Maryland had ever sung a note when they met at NYU’s Steinhardt music school is even more amazing. But given how the band deftly tackles (alphabetically) Americana, blues, folk, jazz, psych, punk, soul and more, it’s not surprising these guys seem like they can do whatever they put their minds to.
We’re premiering the video for On Tap track “Wishing Well” today on magnetmagazine.com, so we asked the song’s writer and singer, saxophonist/vocalist Patrick Sargent, for some insight into the track. Let’s just say he was as ambitious with his response as the band is with its music. “Truth be told, ‘Wishing Well’ was the first song I ever wrote, so the process of writing it was more like fumbling in the dark than chiseling marble,” says Sargent. “I think I was listening to a lot of Alabama Shakes at the time and was trying to write something that had the quality I was enamored of in their work: a hushed verse, an unhinged, raging chorus and kind of a soul-collides-with-rock thing, like Nirvana with Otis singing lead. In reality, my voice is closer to Randy Newman than Brittany Howard, so it came out a little different—but that’s the song I had in my mind’s eye. We played the song live for almost a year before recording it, so it had a chance to evolve organically before being put to tape. Both the drum solo and the background vocals were, like many great musical ideas, initially proposed in jest but quickly became integral to the song.
“Lyrically, it’s a pretty straight forward blues ballad with the narrator lamenting his loneliness and heartbreak at length before breaking down and begging his lost love, ‘I don’t wantcha, babe/But I think I need ya, babe/Now I’m pleading, babe/Tell me why did you leave my, babe,'” Sargent continues. “Live, it tends to feel less like a story song and more like an excuse for us all to play our instruments extra loud and for me to scream into the microphone. In the studio, we went for a pretty maximal psychedelic vibe, a big wall of sound with many layers of vocals and, of course, our signature soaring horns. We also added a second track of low, sludgy, horns on the chorus, so in addition to filling out the high range, we have a a big thick horn section filling out the bottom end of the track, kicking around in the mud where there’s normally only bass and guitar. We definitely had fun with this one and left plenty of mistakes and odd sounds in, so it feels very messy and live—as a song like this should.”
Not satisfied with learning more about “Wishing Well” (the song) than we have about any other song in history, we pressed Sargent for some info about “Wishing Well” (the video). And he didn’t disappoint, saying of the quirky clip, “We were all holed up in a house in Duck, N.C., that a local music festival had generously provided for us as lodging while we were performing there. Our friend/photographer John Carges was with us, and we were shooting a bunch of promo material when someone had the inspired idea that footage of us wailing on each other with pool noodles would go perfectly with the chorus of ‘Wishing Well.’ We made some margaritas, shotgunned a few beers and had ourselves a fun little video shoot. Months later, we decided to complete the video by shooting some footage of me wandering my neighborhood in the cold, bleak shittiness of New York winter, dreaming of poolside debauchery in North Carolina. We enlisted our good friend Kelly Teacher to shoot and edit the footage, and the rest is history.”
Well, there you have it, dear MAGNET reader. Sargent is definitely proud of his first-ever songwriting credit and its accompanying video, as he should be. It’s the perfect end-of-summer jam, tailor made for margaritas, shotgunning beers and living it up before the cold weather comes and you’re stuck dreaming of poolside debauchery in North Carolina. Check out “Wishing Well” now, and catch the Rad Trads when they come to your city.
8/15 Lake George Arts Summer Concert Series, Lake George, NY
9/14 Mercury Lounge, New York City
9/18 Rose Music Hall, Columbia, MO
9/19 Knuckleheads Saloon, Kansas City, MO
9/20 Lincoln Calling Festival, Lincoln, NE
9/21 The Temple Theatre, Des Moines, IA
9/23 SPACE, Evanston, IL
9/26 Motr Pub, Cincinnati
9/27 Rumba Cafe, Columbus, OH
9/28 Levitt Pavilion, Dayton Dayton
9/30 Beachland Tavern, Cleveland
10/2 Racoon Motel, Davenport, IA
10/3 Icehouse, Minneapolis
10/4 The Mill, Iowa City
10/5 The Grand Theatre, Wausau, WI
10/11 Loco Club, Valencia, ES
10/12 Louie Louie, Estepona, ES
10/13 El Pelicano, Cadiz, ES
10/14 Sala X, Sevilla, ES
10/15 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/16 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/17 Cafe Central, Madrid
10/18 El Amacen De Little Bobby, Santander, ES
10/20 AMC Boganegra Culturual Club, Valles Pilloña, ES
10/21 Sidreria El Zagal, Aldeamayor de San Martin, ES
11/6 Granada (Sundown), Dallas
11/7 Mohawk, Austin
11/8 McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, Houston
12/9 City Winery, Boston
Some marriages produce kids. For Bakersfield, Calif.-based Jenny and Joseph Andreotti, their union has lovingly spawned fawns. Fawns Of Love, to be more specific. Married a lucky 13 years and playing music together for a sweet 16 under a number of different names, the Andreottis (both full-time teachers) adopted the Fawns Of Love moniker last year, releasing a debut album and a couple singles since. Up next for the Cali couple is the Part Time Punks (Plus “Rocket Science”) EP, a limited-edition, vinyl-only release out August 24 that pairs the band’s recent session for L.A. radio show Part Time Punks with a cover of longtime MAGNET fave the Chills.
The Fawns chose to take on Martin Phillipps and Co.’s “Rocket Science” (a 2016 non-album single from the 38-years-young New Zealand outfit) for a couple of reasons. They’re massive Chills fans, and they really appreciate the band’s socially and politically minded songs. “Phillipps’ lyrics have always been filled with brilliant social commentary and self-reflection,” says Jenny. “Lately, his lyrical content has taken on themes of environmentalism and income inequality. I believe he is writing some of the most significant and politically charged lyrics of our time. (2015 album) Silver Bullets left me in awe, as did ‘Rocket Science,’ so I felt a strong desire to cover what I believe is resonating with so many.”
Well, Fawns Of Love’s version of “Rocket Science” itself is already resonating, most of all with the Chills themselves, who love the cover. As do we. Which means we’re thrilled to premiere it today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now. It’s summer fun, even if it is rocket science.
While a good chunk of the New York metro area was relocating to Jersey City this past decade, longtime resident Stephen Chopek was leaving his longtime home. Moving to Memphis in 2014, Chopek embraced the spontaneous nature of the city’s music scene for third album Begin The Glimmer, out October 12. Citing MAGNET-approved influences like Guided By Voices, the Replacements and Talking Heads, Chopek (who’s done session and touring work as a drummer for the likes of Charlie Hunter, John Mayer and Jesse Malin) played every instrument on the album’s 10 songs. He then turned the tracks over to Memphis legend Doug Easley (Pavement, GBV, Cat Power) to mix, resulting in a hook-filled LP that establishes Chopek as a songwriter to be reckoned with.
On the heels of the “Radio Caroline”/”The Ballad Of Cash & Dean” seven-inch from earlier this year comes another advanced listen of Begin The Glimmer in the form of album track “Could Have Been.” A pretty, mid-tempo rocker with a melodic vocals that fans of Langhorne Slim will surely appreciate, the song is a perfect introduction to Chopek’s music. We’re proud to premiere “Could Have Been” (“Sometimes a relationship gets a second try, but what it really needs is a last chance,” says Chopek of the track) today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, and catch Chopek live this month (dates below).
8/8 Fayetteville, AR, Dickson St. Pub
8/9 Rogers, AR, Brick Street Brews (art walk)
8/10 Little Rock, AR, The Undercroft
8/11 Oklahoma Coty, OK, Anthem Brewing (day show)
8/11 Norman, OK, Red Brick Bar (night show)
8/12 Topeka, KS, The Wheel Barrel (day show)
8/12 Wichita, KS, Kirby’s (night show)
8/13 Des Moines, IA, The Fremont
8/14 Topeka, KS, The Boobie Trap Bar
8/15 Cedar Falls, IA, Figaro Figaro
8/16 Duluth, MN, Sir Benedict’s
8/17 Duluth, MN, The Barrel Room at Fitger’s
8/22 Madison, WI, BOS Meadery
8/23 Appleton, WI, Gibson Music Hall
8/24 Green Bay, WI, Artstreet (art walk)
8/25 Fayetteville, AR, Core Beer
8/26 St. Louis, MO, Evangeline’s
We’ve been fan of Mirah coming up on two decades now, and she continues to impress us with each new release. Though she’s more than capable as a solo performer, Mirah (born Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn in MAGNET’s hometown of Philadelphia) also thrives on collaboration, having worked with the likes of Tune-Yards, Phil Elvrum (Mt. Eerie), Thao Nguyen (Thao & The Get Down Stay Down), Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening) and Jherek Bischoff. On album number six, Understanding (out September 7 on Mirah’s Absolute Magnitude label), she joined forces with Eli Crews (Tune-Yards, Julie Ruin) and Greg Saunier (Deerhoof)—only after recording demos on her own in a former army-barracks gymnasium in the Bay Area. Mirah then took these raw, vocals, guitar, organ and percussion tracks to a studio in her hometown of Brooklyn with Crews and Saunier, who pushed the sonic boundaries of her songs, helping to create Mirah’s most ambitious piece of work to date.
While this process had a huge impact on the 10 tracks that make up Understanding, for Mirah, this album reminds her of the time she spent alone writing and recording the initial tracks. Take, for example, the song “Lighthouse,” which features Saunier. Says Mirach of the track, “This song is about the experience of immersing myself in a new place while also missing home. I wrote and recorded the basic tracks for ‘Lighthouse’ while I was at a residency at Headlands Center For The Arts outside of San Francisco. I loved it there immediately. The landscape was so expansive, the hilltops I could climb to look out at the water. There was a solitude and focus that I could plug right into … I biked into the city to get myself a disco ball, and I would move it around to different spots in my studio to catch the sun at different angles throughout the day. It was pretty magical … Every time I play this song, I can see my time there so vividly.”
We’re proud to premiere “Lighthouse” today on magnetmagzine.com. Check it out now, and catch Mirch on tour in September (dates below).
9/8 Seattle, Ballard Homestead
9/9 Olympia, WA, Capitol Theater
9/10 Portland, Mississippi Studios
9/12 Arcata, CA, The Sanctuary
9/13 San Francisco, Cafe Du Nord
9/16 Los Angeles, The Echo
Paul Collins was one of the pioneers of American power pop, playing with bands such as the Nerves (“Hanging On The Telephone,” later made famous by Blondie and covered by Def Leppard and Cat Power), the Beat and the Breakaways (both bands recorded the Collins-penned “Walking Out On Love,” later part of Green Day’s American Idiot Broadway musical). For much, much more on the history of American power pop, kids, check out our exhaustive 2002 cover story on the subject, featuring Big Star, Cheap Trick, Matthew Sweet, the Posies and many more
Collins returns September 28 with Out Of My Head (Alive Naturalsound), an album that recalls nothing if not the reverb-heavy rock ‘n’ roll he helped to perfect in the late ’70s. A multi-instrumentalist (he played drums in the Nerves before switching to guitar when that band broke up), Collins does most of it himself on Out Of My Head, with Paul Stingo (Rockinghams) contributing bass and harmonies.
One of Out Of My Head‘s highlights is second track “Go,” a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it slice of power-pop goodness that’s all skinny ties and fat hooks. 45 years into his career, Collins has mastered this kind of song, and there seems to be no shortage of them inside of him. He still makes it sound easy, but ask anyone who writes songs for a living, and they’ll tell you how hard it is. Even Collins himself knows that. “I’m still proud of the fact that I can write a song that’s one minute and 30 seconds long,” he says. “That, my friends, is no easy feat.”
We’re proud to premiere “Go” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now. It just might be the best one-and-a-half minutes of your summer of love.
In music, as in life, being quirky tends to elicit very mixed reactions. For every good “freaky” band (we’re thinking Ween, Flaming Lips and They Might Be Giants—all masters of their respective crafts), there are a number of “screwy” ones that just fall flat (sorry Soul Coughing, Barenaked Ladies and Cake). So when you find out a group takes its moniker from a Frank Zappa quote and has a song named after a now-ubiquitous pear-shaped fruit, you really start to curb your enthusiasm. But in the case of Charlotte, N.C., trio the Eyebrows, there’s no need to worry: Being quirky suits them well, because there’s a lot more going on in their music that just shits and giggles.
Rising from the ashes of a number of Tar Heel State bands that almost could (including Poprocket and Temperance League), the Eyebrows are set to self-release their debut album on August 31. The 10-track Volume was produced by North Carolina legend Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Pavement, Helium), and it displays a pretty comprehensive knowledge of the indie/college/whatever rock that’s come before it. “Avocado” is one of the standouts, and it finally answers the age-old question about what it would it sound like if the Pixies and King Missile (kids, ask your great-grandparents) jammed in the B-52s’ garage.
“I remember when we were mixing this song, as Mitch Easter, (drummer) Shawn Lynch and I were having a grand time,” says frontman Jay Garrigan of “Avocado.” “It was near the end of the mixing day, and we were celebrating our hard work with some fine Scotch. Plus, I like to think we’re all pals, as we enjoy each other’s company. I asked Mitch to make the ‘guac’—i.e. guacamole—lyric sound like something Lux Interior from the Cramps would do, and Mitch had a moment. He stopped mixing for a minute, put his hands over his face, and with a lot of space and separation he said, ‘This … song … is … so fucking stupid.’ We all laughed for a good five minutes.”
Well, even if Mr. Mitch Easter says it’s fucking stupid, “Avocado” still rocks. And we’re proud to premiere the Tyler Baum-directed video for it today at magnetmagazine.com. Grab some toast, millennials, and watch it now.