Frightened Rabbit Re-Gifts Holiday Single

Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit reissued digital single “It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop” on December 16. The song was originally released last year, but it reappears in a new configuration thanks to Seattle-based singer/songwriter David Karsten Daniels, who added strings, horns and a choir to the track.

We don’t mind the re-gifting of the single, but in the spirit of the season, it would’ve been nice of the guys to offer it as a free download.

Frightened Rabbit, who released superb second album The Midnight Organ Fight earlier this year, returns to the U.S. in January for a seven-date tour. Info after the jump.

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Brian Wilson To Release DVD

A lot of critics loved That Lucky Old Sun, Brian Wilson’s recent solo album. We certainly weren’t among them. For as great as it’s been to see the former Beach Boy reestablish himself as a musical force, That Lucky Old Sun just came off like an artist well past his prime trying to relive the glory days. It just kind of made us sad. But since misery loves company, the fine folks at Capitol/EMI are going to release a companion DVD to That Lucky Old Sun on January 27. It will feature a live performance of the entire album, a making-of-the-record documentary and “bonus” features including Wilson providing track-by-track commentary. And we all know how exciting it is to hear musicians to talk about their music. Personally, we’d rather hear Wilson explain why he voted for McCain.

The Photo Issue

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THE PHOTO ISSUE

MAGNET’s 15th anniversary photo album has everything from embarrassing baby-band pictures to high-concept glamour shots of our favorite artists. Go behind the scenes of each shoot and story with up-close commentary from our photographers, writers and editors.

:: Images From MAGNET’s Photo Issue >

:: Web-Exclusive Outtakes >
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The National Produces AIDS Benefit CD Featuring Yo La Tengo, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire And More

On February 17, 4AD will release Dark Was The Night, a compilation that will benefit the Red Hot Organization, which raises money and awareness to fight HIV/AIDS. The 32-track CD was produced by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National and features some of the best indie-rock outifts on the planet (or, at least, North America mostly), including Yo La Tengo, My Morning Jacket, the New Pornographers, Arcade Fire, the Decemberists, Cat Power, Iron & Wine and Spoon. Dark Was The Night—not to be confused with the Batman movie from earlier this year—will be available as a double cd/triple vinyl/download. It’s the 20th Red Hot release; previous volumes have included 1993’s No Alternative, 1995’s Red Hot + Bothered and 2000’s Red Hot + Indigo. The complete lineup of Dark Was The Night is after the jump.

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Bill Janovitz Launches Free “Cover Of The Week” Club

Buffalo Tom frontman Bill Janovitz wants to record a cover song every week and make each tune available to fans for free via his blog. (Sure, not as fun as a free beer-of-the-month club, but in this economy, we’ll take what we can get.) The first entry in the series is the Replacements’ “Little Mascara,” a great track from 1985’s Tim, MAGNET’s somewhat controversial pick for the best Mats album of all time. (You can download Bill’s version here.) Janovitz also covered Tom Waits’ “Johnsburg, Illinois” (from 1983’s Swordfishtrombones, another MAGNET fave), which you can download here.

The Kinks Get Boxed (Finally)

For many of us around the MAGNET office, there are four things we thought would make our lives complete: 1) the Phillies winning the World Series, 2) a Democrat back in the White House, 3) a Kinks boxed set featuring unreleased tracks from the glory days and 4) free beer for life. Well, be careful what you wish for. In less than a month’s time, the Phillies dismantled the Tampa Bay Rays for their first championship since 1980, Obama soundly kicked McCain’s ass, and Ray Davies announced the impending release of the first-ever Kinks boxed set. (No word yet on the free beer, unfortunately.)

According to Davies’ website, the six-CD, 138-track Picture Book will be on sale in the U.K. on December 8. (Davies’ U.S. publicist confirmed the box will get an American release sometime next year.) Davies also recently told BBC News that a full-scale Kinks reunion might be in the cards, but he has been saying that somewhat regularly since the band broke up in 1996, so we won’t hold our breaths. But here’s an idea: How about some kind of Dr. Pepper/Chinese Democracy deal sponsored by Dogfish Head Brewery that will give every American a free 120 Minute IPA if the original Kinks get back together? Yes, we can!

To prepare for the release of Picture Book (check out the complete track listing after the jump), revisit the excellent interview that Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan did with Davies for MAGNET earlier this year.

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Lisa Germano Finishes New Album, Plays Again With Famous Friends

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Lisa Germano recently put the finishing touches on her ninth studio album. Magic Neighbor is due out next year on the Young God label, which issued her last LP, 2006’s In The Maybe World. Germano—who got her start playing violin with John Mellencamp and has collaborated with the likes of Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and eels—will also take part in the making of the second album by Crowded House frontman Neil Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide. The project takes its name from the 2001 live CD Finn recorded with friends including Germano, Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr, members of Radiohead and others. For the new 7 Worlds Collide LP, to be cut in December and January in Finn’s native New Zealand, Germano will be joined again by Marr and Phil Selway and Ed O’Brien of Radiohead, along with members of Wilco, Soul Coughing and others.

To read a revealing interview MAGNET did with Germano a decade ago, in which she details her ever-so-brief stint as a member of Smashing Pumpkins (she was fired via phone by the band’s tour manager), click here.

The Jesus Lizard To Reunite

The Jesus Lizard—one of MAGNET’s all-time favorite live bands—is set to reunite for what its label Touch And Go calls a “very limited series” of dates next year. Confirmed thus far are an appearance at an All Tomorrow’s Parties event in the U.K. in May and a farewell show in the band’s hometown of Chicago in November. To cash in on the reunion, Touch And Go plans to reissue the quartet’s four albums for the label (1990’s Head, 1991’s Goat, 1992’s Liar and 1994’s Down) in May with “expanded packaging and liner notes” (i.e., no bonus tracks; those will have to wait for the special editions that will no doubt come out when the band decides to reunite again five years from now).

Until then, why not enjoy the memoir that frontman David Yow wrote for MAGNET last year; just click here.

R.E.M.’s Murmur Reissued With Bonus Live Disc

Forget for a minute what you think of what R.E.M. has turned into. When the Athens, Ga., quartet issued its debut album in April 1983, it turned out to be one of those moments that end up defining an era. Murmur pretty much single-handedly started the “college rock” genre, which morphed into “alternative rock” and “indie rock” and “modern rock” and then into whatever people choose to call it these days. It remains one of those albums that sounds nothing like anything that came before or after it, simultaneously retro and ahead of its time. It proved that four regular dudes could work hard and tour their asses off and end up succeeding far beyond their loftiest expectations. Murmur is one of those records that changed not only the music industry, but also people’s lives. (Feel free to add your own cliches here.) So with every average-to-decent record of the rock ‘n’ roll era now being treated to the “deluxe reissue” treatment, it’s nice to see one of the great ones finally getting its due. Murmur is reissued today with remastered sound and a bonus disc of a great live show recorded in Toronto three months after the LP was released. Even if you don’t go out and buy it, maybe go home and put your warped vinyl or cassette copy on the stereo and remember the good old days.

If you’re looking for even more excitement, you can read the interview MAGNET did with guitarist Peter Buck last year; for some reason, he hung up on us when we mentioned his penchant for getting shit-faced while flying commercial.