MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Peter Holsapple’s “Commonplace”

Photo by John Gessner

It makes sense that since Peter Holsapple has long been the go-to guy for musicians such as R.E.M., Hootie & The Blowfish, John Hiatt, Indigo Girls, the Troggs, Juliana Hatfield and too many others to name here that when he needed assistance on his first solo album in 21 years that he would turn to, well, himself. Game Day (out July 27 via Omnivore) is a solo record in the truest sense of the word, as the dB’s co-founder pretty much did everything himself on the 13-song LP, which features a bonus track as well as two “super” bonus tracks (“Don’t Mention The War” and “Cinderella Style,” both from a stellar seven-inch single released last year). Holsapple recorded and mixed all of Game Day in the basement of his house and, stylistically, threw in everything but the kitchen sink, though he could’ve done that as well, since he moved to a new place right after finishing the LP.

It’s hard to believe it’s coming up on half a century since Holsapple made his recording debut in a band that also included Mitch Easter and Chris Stamey called Rittenhouse Square. (Readers from MAGNET’s hometown of Philly will get the moniker’s reference.) Given Holsapple’s status as a music lifer and the fact that he has only one previous solo album—1997’s Out Of My Way (a more collaborative affair featuring members of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, the Bangles and more)—it’s no surprise that while some of songs that make up Game Day are brand new, others have been floating around for a bit. And then, however, there’s “Commonplace,” the newest of the songs (it was written in the last few months) whose words address some decades-old concerns.

“The lyrics are a 40-years-late thank-you note to a girlfriend from college days who decided early on that I should stop frittering my time away with music when I could be doing something more purposeful and promising,” says Holsapple. “Early on, I believed her because love makes you do stupid things; later, I realized she was completely wrong when it became evident I had an affinity for songwriting. Many of the songs on the first couple of dB’s records were inspired by her attitude and actions, so I thought acknowledgment was finally in order.”

Well, better late than never, especially when the thank-you note is as good as “Commonplace,” which is anything but what its title might imply. We’re proud to premiere the track today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, look for live dates in August and watch Game Day‘s trailer.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Bird Streets’ “Betting On The Sun”

The always-interesting Omnivore label will release the self-titled debut album from Brooklyn’s Bird Streets on August 10. Before you start rolling your eyes at the thought of yet another new Williamsburg trust-fund tribe that your hipsters friends will pretend to love until the band “sells out” by getting a song on Spotify, Bird Streets is different. First off, it’s not a band, but one guy named John Brodeur. And when he wasn’t busy self-releasing records over the past two decades, Brodeur was working as a music journalist up in Albany, N.Y. So the only trust fund he’s probably ever had was the one when he was saving up loose change to buy Elvis Costello’s fifth album. (The 1994 reissue, not the 1981 original; he’s not that old.)

For Bird Streets’ debut, Brodeur wisely enlisted the great—and one of the most commercially underappreciated talents of the MAGNET era—Jason Falkner (Beck, Air, Paul McCartney, Jellyfish, etc.) as co-writer, co-player and producer. (See the happy chappies below.) And although Brodeur is Big Bird of this Streets department, he also surrounded himself with other first-rate fowls such as Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell to contribute to a few tracks. Other than that, however, it’s just Brodeur and Falkner ruling the roost on these 11 songs, recorded at Falkner’s Rhetoric Studio in Los Angeles. (Brodeur is obviously migratory.)

You don’t have to wait until August to take a ride down Bird Streets, however. Today we’re bringing you “Betting On The Sun,” one of the album’s standout tracks. Says Brodeur of the catchy power-pop gem, “This one happened fast. I showed up one morning with part of a verse and half a chorus. Jason and I tossed some ideas back and forth, he added the key change in the bridge, and in about 30 minutes we were cutting a drum track. Finished it a day later. It’s about trying to engage with someone who has withdrawn into despair and anti-social behavior. Maybe it’s autobiographical? The chorus sounds bright and positive, but it’s actually pretty cynical—I guess that’s product of a New Yorker trying to write a California song.”

We’re proud to premiere “Betting On The Sun” today on magnetmagzine.com. You’ll dig it no matter which coast you’re on.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of A Flock Of Seagulls’ “Space Age Love Song” Video

1984 has already been quite a year. The Donald, now a father for the third time, has finally seen Trump Tower up, running and open for business, and he’s in the middle of rebuilding the skating rink in Central Park. The Soviet army is on alert after President Reagan joked that we’re gonna begin bombing them in five minutes. 46-year-old Jack Nicholson won his second Oscar, for Terms Of Endearment. Apple dramatically introduced the Macintosh computer to the world with an Orwellian commercial directed by Ridley Scott, hot off his success with Blade Runner. And British new-wave outfit A Flock Of Seagulls released The Story Of A Young Heart, which—following 22-year-old guitarist Paul Reynolds leaving the group after it hit record stores—has turned out to be the last LP by the band’s original lineup.

That is, until now. (OK, we’re back in 2018, McFly.)

With Ascension (out June 29), Reynolds, Score brothers Mike (vocals, keyboards) and Ali (drums) and bassist Frank Maudsley have gotten the original band back together—with a little help from the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The 12-track LP features A Flock Of Seagulls symphonically redoing all the hits—”I Ran (So Far Away),” “Space Age Love Song,” “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You),” “Telecommunication,” “Nightmares,” “Transfer Affection”—plus other fan faves, primarily from 1982’s self-titled debut and the following year’s Listen.

Given that A Flock Of Seagulls had two members who were hairdressers with a taste for the theatrical (and, kids, this is the early ’80s we’re talking about), videos played a big part of the band’s success in the U.S. thanks to frequent airplay on MTV. So it’s not surprising that the quartet already has a new clip from the new album, for the new “Space Age Love Song,” a 1982 top-30 smash in the U.S. that’s still essential ear candy from the greed-is-good decade. And if you don’t believe us, just ask Mike Score: “I knew when I wrote ‘Space Age Love Song,’ it was perfect,” he says. “And it was far beyond what any other new-wave band could do.”

Unlike during the new-wave era, however, these days band members don’t have to all be in the same studio to make a record. Or, even, the same country. So shooting the video for “Space Age Love Song” also marked the true reunion for the foursome. “We made the record in separate studios around the world,” says Score. “So when we made the video, it was actually the first time we had been all together since 2004. It was a good feeling. That Seagull magic is still there.”

What isn’t still there, though, is that patented A Flock Of Seagulls hair—hair so groundbreaking and unforgettable that it’s been referenced by name in films like Pulp Fiction and The Wedding Singer. These days, instead of that physics-defying waterfall that resided on top of Score’s head, he’s now rockin’ the cue-ball look. But like they say: Hair today, gone tomorrow.

We’re proud to premiere the video for “Space Age Love Song” on magnetmagazine.com. Although it took a while, it will make you smile.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Honyock’s “Patron”

On July 20, Honyock will release debut LP El Castillo via Friendship Fever. The Sacramento, Calif., foursome recorded the album with musician extraordinaire David Vandervelde (Father John Misty, Jay Bennett) at New Monkey Studio, which was owned by the late, great Elliott Smith. Guitarists/vocalists (and brothers) Spencer and Mason Hoffman, bassist Tyler Wolter and drummer Christian “Sunshine” Meinke grew up together, and this familiarity with each other shows through in the ’70s-leaning rock ‘n’ roll they create.

“Patron” is a standout on El Castillo, and like all of Honyock’s songs, it’s deeply personal. “When I wrote it, I was troubled by this persistent pattern in my life of being intimate with drug abuse and drug abusers since I was a kid,” says Spencer. “Like, of the non-functioning sort. Those people can be the sweetest people you’ve ever met, but they disappear a lot, too. You have this dual emotion of ‘I would do anything to help you’ while admonishing them for their own lack of will or their inability to surrender. So the verses oscillate between asking them to raise their ‘white flags’ or their ‘red hands.’ But, ultimately, I think it’s just as much a song about my own savior complex surrounding the issue.”

We’re proud to premiere “Patron” today on magnetmagazine.com. We’re sure you’ll dig it as much as we do. You can pre-order El Castillo here.

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Subsonics’ “You Got Eyes” Video

Hey, kids, you want a tip on a hot new band from Hotlanta? (You can tell we’re not from Atlanta because we just said “Hotlanta,” but we do love Donald Glover’s Atlanta and Cat Power has been on the cover of MAGNET and she was born in Atlanta, so we’re down with the ATL. Or something.) Anyway, a hot new band from Hotlanta? Well, it’s not Subsonics, who—as you might be surprised to find out—have been bending the ears of those in the know for more than a quarter century.

The threesome’s patented brand of garage ‘n’ glam popabilly will fit nicely on your rockin’ record rack between Wilson Pickett and the Velvet Underground. Or Little Richard and the Voidoids. Legend has it that Subsonics neighbors Black Lips called them the “best band in Atlanta,” but they might’ve been shit-faced when they said that. Or maybe the Lips owed Subsonics some cash. Who know? Who cares?

Lucky for you, Subsonics just released eighth album Flesh Colored Paint on Slovenly; pick up a copy of it here. And even if you feel you’re 26 years too late to this bespattered-punk party, it doesn’t really matter. This brainy-but-brawny band has always had one unfailing foot in the door and one felicitous foot in the gutter. When they go low, they also go high as well.

The latest single from frontman Clay Reed, drummer Buffi Aguero and bassist Rob Del Bueno (Man Or Astro-man?) is “You Got Eyes,” a minimal, minute-and-a-half of the good stuff that gives you a glimpse into the world that is Subsonics. “It’s Lasik surgery for the surveillance generation, a contact lens for the hearing impaired” says Reed, speaking about either “You Got Eyes” (the song) or “You Got Eyes” (the video). Either way, we agree.

We’re proud to premiere the video today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now—you got eyes after all.