Documentary Celebrates The Entire History Of Popular Music

When journalist/filmmaker Tony Palmer was working for the BBC in the mid-’60s, his friend John Lennon offered a suggestion. “His continuous complaint to me was that there were great musicians who simply couldn’t get on television,” says Palmer. “And that I had a responsibility to get them on television.”

In 1968, Palmer delivered All My Loving, a groundbreaking documentary about rock icons such as the Who, Cream and Jimi Hendrix. But Lennon wasn’t done with his suggestions. Why not a doc on the entire history of popular music?

“I thought it was impossible,” says Palmer of the project. “[Lennon] said, ‘You know what you should call it, right? All You Need Is Love, because that’s what it’s about.’ So now I have a title like no other and have Mr. Lennon, who no doubt would find me and complain if I didn’t get on with it.”

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The Last Shadow Puppets: Fact Sheet

Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner has never been one for vague disclosures. His lyrics often feature long, twisting details of urban tomfoolery and daft-punk diatribes about teenage life in seedy Sheffield. It’s both predictable and surprising, then, that his first piece of non-Monkey business would be an aggrandizing long-player (co-written with Miles Kane of upstart U.K. band the Rascals) supported by the 22-piece London Metropolitan Orchestra and titled, naturally, The Age Of The Understatement (Domino). The video for the opening title track provides most everything you need to know about the Last Shadow Puppets: Turner and Kane, looking dour in shaggy Beatles bowl cuts and leftover wardrobes from the 1964 Help! shoot, recline on a Russian battle tank like a couple of comrades while battalions of troops sing backup vocals in the snow. Much like the half-galloping, half-prancing album, it’s equal parts goofily outsized and gloriously over-the-top. Turner debunked MAGNET’s myths over the breakfast din of a Manhattan diner.

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Thurston Moore On Sonic Youth Being Dissed By Juno MacGuff

How do you feel about Sonic Youth’s 1994 cover of the Carpenters’ “Superstar” being called “just noise” in the film Juno?

Every once in a while, you’ll be asked whether your music can be used in a movie. Invariably, we always ask, “What’s the movie about?” Because you don’t want it to be some kind of grotesque film. I didn’t even remember that they’d used the song until I was watching it with my daughter, then I was like, “Oh my god!” [Laughs] When Mark (Jason Bateman) tells Juno (Ellen Page), “Here’s a Sonic Youth song, I think you’ll really like this,” and then he plays the song that’s the least indicative of our music—us covering a Carpenters tune—it’s such an odd choice. It’s also funny that she would be into totally hardcore punk—Iggy, Patti Smith, the Runaways—and then quantify Sonic Youth as “just a bunch of noise.” But I think she was just angry at the guy and trying to get back at him.

Slint Members Form Metal Band Dead Child

When Slint re-formed in 2005 for a string of live performances, fans of the seminal Louisville, Ky., post-rock band might’ve anticipated a possible new album. Guitarist David Pajo reveals that plans were indeed made for recording, except those plans had very little to do with Slint.

“Michael McMahan (guitarist for Slint reunion), Todd Cook (bass) and I lightheartedly discussed continuing to play together after the Slint tour,” says Pajo. “Weeks later, Todd turned to me in the van and said, ‘Do you know what a good name for a metal band is? Dead Child.’”

Attack, the full-length debut from Dead Child (Pajo, Cook, McMahan, drummer Tony Bailey and vocalist Dahm), arrives April 8 on Quarterstick. Keeping with McMahan’s original vision and the sound of last year’s self-titled EP, Attack honors heavy metal’s classic tendencies (wailing vocals, hard-wired riffs) while avoiding its modern pitfalls (no programmed drums or cookie-monster vocals).

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Funny Guys Andrew Earles And Jeffrey Jensen Sign To Matador; Yeah THAT Andrew Earles

Judging from the volume and content of letters submitted to MAGNET over the past few years, readers will be either delighted or appalled to learn that contributing writer Andrew Earles (author of Where’s The Street Team?) has signed to Matador to issue a comedy CD. Earles & Jensen Present: Just Farr A Laugh Vol. 1 And 2, due in April, consists of prank phone calls by Earles and partner Jeffrey Jensen. Listeners expecting Jerky Boys-style locker-room humor will be disappointed; the duo instead traffics in slow-developing, character-driven calls. One features the singer of a smooth-R&B cover band called Bedroom ETA attempting to secure a gig at a Memphis blues club, while another has a junk-collector type attempting to sell Garfield memorabilia to an antiques dealer.

“We wanted to make a different type of prank-call CD,” says Earles. “One devoid of cruelty and overstuffed with pop-culture references.”

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Please Explain: Stephen Malkmus

What’s up with your passion for fantasy sports? We heard you played online multi-player basketball while recording your latest album, Real Emotional Trash (Matador).

I’m the commissioner for the basketball league that (current Jicks bandmates) Janet Weiss, Joanna Bolme, (Pavement drummer) Bob Nastanovich and others play in. People can protest trades, and I can flat-out reject them if I think they’re unfair. But I won’t, because we’re all adults, and people can make their own choices. Within reason. Lately, I haven’t cared about who wins the NBA Finals—it’s just a show, entertainment. The Spurs win because they do lots of fundamental things well. But fantasy is where the fun is. It’s streaky, guys drop like flies from injuries, people do well for a short time, then someone else shines and does well. You start the season full of hope, then you ride the wave.

Al Jourgensen: Please Explain

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You spend much of Ministry’s final album, The Last Sucker (13th Planet/Megaforce), warning us about the evils of the Bush administration. You even call Dick Cheney “the son of Satan.” Does this mean that you actually care about us?

I think that after I got out of my heroin haze of the ’90s, Ministry became a socially relevant band singing about social issues. How am I not gonna sing about George W. Bush? What am I gonna do, pick up an acoustic guitar and sing for the next six years about how I kicked heroin? I actually give a shit again about our culture, our society and the state of things. A lot of other people are doing it, too, but I like the way we do it. We do it with a sense of humor; I hope people can pick up on this. I just saw a right-wing Web site where I was public enemy number two, behind Michael Moore. I love that. It tells me I’m doing something right.

Please Explain: Ian Hunter

ianhunter320Dating back to your days in Mott The Hoople and throughout your solo career, you’ve always worn incredibly large sunglasses. How did this fashion trend begin?

It all started when I was a kid, living with my parents in England. My eyes were extremely weak. Even driving down a road, normally, I was like this [hunkers, squinting over imaginary steering wheel]. And my mother used to say, “You should really get some glasses.” But the glasses weren’t very good in those days. When I finally went onstage, I couldn’t handle the lights at all; my eyes were just too weak. So I started wearing sunglasses. I used to get ’em out at the motorway garage. But I’ve got a big head. And I mean physically—I have a big head. Small glasses don’t look right on me, so I like big ones. And then, of course, you can’t find ’em. So I wound up with Gazelles about 15 or 20 years ago. The wrestlers all wear them, and they’re really nice glasses, too. So now my problem is completely solved.

—Tom Lanham

Ambulance LTD: Please Explain

ambulancemaracus315Ambulance LTD has undergone some reconstructive surgery. After last spring’s New English EP, vocalist/guitarist Marcus Congleton left his bandmates and New York for Los Angeles, tapping John Cale to produce the new Ambulance record, due in March. So how did Congleton hook up with Cale, and what happened to the other guys in the band?

Last winter, somebody gave me one of Cale’s first solo records, (1970’s) Vintage Violence. I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve heard in a really long time. So I thought it’d be worth a shot to send him some demos and see if he’d be interested. Months and months later, after I kinda forgot about it, I came out to L.A. and ended up meeting with him. I lucked out, I guess. Then we got together in the studio and made a song from scratch; we pretty much wrote it on the spot. We thought, based on that, we’d be able to do a whole record together. A lot of these songs are ones that I started playing with the band, but those members started their own group (the Red Romance). They said they would be OK with me continuing to use the name because I wrote most of the songs and have been doing the band the longest.

Eric Bachmann: Please Explain

You wrote your new album, To The Races (Saddle Creek), while living in your tour van. How’d that work out for you?

eric-baucman300When I returned from touring Europe in June 2005, I was a bit low on cash and didn’t want to pay the high rents in Seattle. I would be touring a lot in the fall and didn’t need a permanent home. I had placed what few things I owned in storage and already had a post-office box, so I figured it’d be easy enough to just sleep in my van. I have a cot for sleeping, a fold-up chair, a guitar, some blankets and a few cases of bottled water. I have a membership to the YMCA to take showers and maintain some kind of dignity by trying to stay in reasonable shape. Mostly I park around the Ballard/Crown Hill area in Seattle because there are a lot of side streets that seem safe, and I know of a 24-hour Kinko’s nearby so that if I need to use the restroom seriously, I can go in unnoticed. That area is fairly quiet, too, which I like because I can work on writing songs and recording them into my MiniDisc recorder without too much traffic noise in the background. It’s really good if you want to focus and get a lot done.