Punny Lane

It did not escape our notice that MAGNET #80 contains interviews with both Ringo Starr (you know, from the Beatles) and Ringo Deathstarr (the shoegaze band from Austin). If only we’d been aware of this earlier, we’d have also scheduled coverage of Gringo Star. Hm, maybe not.

Missed opportunity: Really should’ve squeezed a profile of the Deathray Davies (what is it with Austin bands and puns?) into the previous issue with Ray Davies on the cover.

But back to Ringo Starr for a moment—no doubt many of you read about or watched this clip of his earnest plea to fans, urging them to stop sending him fan mail and autograph requests:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUsBqDfnIzk

We kind of get it. You can imagine that diehard Beatles fans are as annoying and persistent as Omaha Steaks when it comes to clogging your mailbox. Still, we’re with the great Tom Scharpling on this one: Ringo is the guy who came after “and” in the Beatles. Get over it.

Inbox of Doom

From: doug@newoceanmedia.net
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 09:45:19 -0400
To: matt@magnetmagazine.com
Subject: MAGNET MAGAZINE – ARTIST POSSIBILITIES

Hello Matt –

Quickly about myself, I am a tour publicist basically and have handled bands from Tantric to Sebastian Bach to Candlebox to lesser knowns like Cinder Road and Suburban Legends. I love a challenge with baby bands.

I am also the nephew through marriage to Frankie Valli who is my father-in-law’s brother.

I wanted to let you know of several bands that I am currently handling and one that I co-manage that may create some interest for you at Magnet Magazine as I have been trying for some time to get any of the artists I handled in print with you.

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XO From PDX

MAGNET writer Corey duBrowa joined a discussion on Oregon Public Radio this week to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Elliott Smith’s death. The hour-long, Portland-centric Elliott chat also features photographer Autumn DeWilde and Neil Gust, Smith’s bandmate in Heatmiser.

Of particular interest: an interview with Garrick Duckler, who formed high-school band A Murder Of Crows with Elliott (then known as Steve) and a short snippet of a song.

Pigs In Mud (local edition)

May we draw your attention to today’s Philadelphia Inquirer online chat with the Eagles’ Don Henley. Writes the Inky:

Henley has been performing for the past four decades. His band, the Eagles is one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, selling more than 100 million albums. He also maintains a career as a solo artist.

How has he managed such success? Click below and post your questions through Nov. 17

What kind of Parade magazine shit is this?

Mangumwatch ’08

Jeff Mangum can check out of Neutral Milk Hotel (he did, in 1999.) But we can never leave him alone.

On Oct. 12, Mangum showed up at the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise performance in New York, performing three songs with his friends in Elf Power and Olivia Tremor Control. MAGNET asked Music Tapes frontman (and former NMH member) Julian Koster about the odds of a full-fledged reunion:

“All that I can say is that when I think of [Neutral Milk Hotel], I have an absolutely formless feeling in my heart that there is a great deal to come.”

Vague! But optimistic. Remember, Koster—who recently released holiday album The Singing Saw At Christmastime—is largely responsible for assembling the NMH lineup that recorded In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.

New Joy Division Documentary Released On DVD

Despite its title, Joy Division (now available on DVD) could’ve just as easily been titled Manchester. As we’re told in the film’s opening moments, this is a documentary about a city, not a pop band. Filmmaker Grant Gee, responsible for Radiohead’s 1998 tour doc Meeting People Is Easy, brings into focus the political and cultural revolution of a post-industrial British city and four young men who were looking for their place in the ruins.

To help with his informative chronological account of Joy Division and the genius of singer Ian Curtis, who hanged himself in 1980, Gee called upon just about every major player involved with the band, including surviving members Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris (otherwise known as three-fourths of New Order). Sumner says that he never liked listening to the band’s first record, 1979’s Unknown Pleasures, and that Manchester was so ugly, he never saw a tree until he was nine years old.

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A Well-Respected Man: Artists Pick Their Favorite Kinks Songs

1. “WATERLOO SUNSET” (1967)
Robyn Hitchcock: “Waterloo Sunset” threads through my life. The single came out during my psychedelic bar mitzvah and still has that eerie “the world has stopped, let’s get out and look around” feel. Every place I’ve lived in Britain is on the main line to Waterloo Station. My children currently both live near Waterloo Bridge, where the sunset is witnessed by Terry and Julie as they have their moment in the crowd. I’ve rehearsed in a studio there since the Soft Boys’ time. My wife and I have had many romantic rendezvous there as the sun flared over the Thames. Then there’s the song itself: sad, dreamy, exultant. The singer is happy to look at life rather than participate. That’s a feeling to relate to. Originally, Ray was going to call it “Liverpool Sunset,” apparently. Thank you for changing it, Ray.
Rhett Miller, Old 97’s:
“Waterloo Sunset” is my all-time favorite song, not just from Ray Davies’ catalog but from the entire canon of Western music. My wife and I fell in love in London. On our first date, we watched the great Robyn Hitchcock sing this song—backed by his Soft Boys bandmate Kimberley Rew—at sunset next to Waterloo Bridge. It was my favorite song before that because of its rule-breaking chord changes and weird lyrics (love triangle? observant recluse?), but once it became “our song,” it cemented its place atop my personal list. Thank you, Ray, for not conquering America as a young man; I’m afraid it would’ve ruined you.

2. “THIS IS WHERE I BELONG” (1967)
Black Francis:
The phrase “This Is Where I Belong” is taped to the side of one of my guitars. While the song can be described as a declaration of love, there’s something deeper for me. It’s a kind of spiritual, a song of acceptance about one’s place in the universe, within the space-time continuum. And for me, at times, it’s there behind my guitar, singing a song, sometimes singing this very song: “I won’t search for a house upon the hill/Why should I, when I would only miss you still?” That is such a heavy statement: about contentment, about truth, about having arrived in the palace of wisdom.

3. “TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOU” (1965)
Robert Schneider, the Apples In Stereo:
I have seen Ray play twice, solo with an acoustic guitar, and his singing blew me away. He has the most soulful voice, overflowing with sympathy and charm. I learned to sing from listening to the Beatles and the Beach Boys, but I learned how to be a singer from listening to Ray Davies. “Tired Of Waiting For You” is the ultimate Kinks song. It has distorto power chords, and it has the dreamy, pastoral middle section: a perfect balance of what the Kinks do best.

4. “LOLA” (1970)
Will Sheff, Okkervil River:
Anybody who argues that this isn’t one of the best rock songs of all time is just being contrary. Like Lola herself, you don’t have to know what’s hiding underneath the surface of this song to enjoy it. You can just focus on that great riff and typically transcendent Ray Davies vocal melody. “Lola” is rich and complex, though, heroically humanizing a character who could’ve been an adolescent joke (one year after the Velvet Underground’s “Candy Says,” admittedly) before crowning her and seating her at the center of a song that testifies to the primacy of love over all things. “Lola” sparkles with detail and pulses with yearning emotion, and the characters show every dimension of themselves; by the end of the song, we fully agree with the couple dancing “under electric candlelight.” All light is the same, warming and illuminating our way, whether it comes from fire or from a bulb on a club wall.

5. “GET BACK IN LINE” (1970)
Scott McCaughey, the Minus 5:
The protagonist of “Get Back In Line” seems like a simple guy: downtrodden, proud, both discouraged and hopeful, and really not asking for much—just the chance to work and make a meager living. The recording is miraculous, a chaotic interweaving of guitars and organ, tempo chan-ges and Ray’s plaintive vocal lifted by Dave’s lovely harmony. It feels almost accidental, yet somehow so perfectly formed, like a performance that could never be repeated. Perhaps it hasn’t been.

6. “TILL THE END OF THE DAY” (1966)
Steve Wynn:
“Till The End Of The Day” blows my mind. Just try playing it on guitar. It uses just about every chord in the book. It’s hard to imagine how someone would write a song like this. It’s as complicated as any ’70s prog-rock song, but sounds impossibly catchy and simple. That’s genius in my book.

7. “DAYS” (1968)
Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal:
“Days” is the only broken love song I can think of where the writer doesn’t display any animosity whatsoever toward the one who broke his heart. Instead of cursing the girl for moving on, he thanks her for all the sacred times they had together. It makes me realize there doesn’t have to be a villain when a relationship dissolves. If you were close with someone and then splintered apart, you can still feel good about the experience, holding the sweet memories inside as you continue on with your life. You don’t have to become bitter or resentful.

8. “SHANGRI-LA” (1969)
Sam Jayne, Love As Laughter:
I have a strange memory of “Shangri-La” that I revisit every time I hear the song. The memory is somewhere on an old videotape, probably stuck in the camcorder it was recorded on. I was playing with the camcorder out the window of a van while returning to Los Angeles after Coachella in 2000. We were listening to the Kinks, and out the window in the hills I saw two people riding horses. There was nothing around, just hills and shrubs and these two people. I zoomed in with the camcorder, and “Shangri-La” was on and at the part where it’s everybody singing “Shangri-La” with the horns and stuff. I was just watching this couple’s hair blow on their horses in the hills through the screen. Every time I hear “Shangri-La,” that’s what I think of: horseback riders in the hills outside of Palm Springs.

9. “TWO SISTERS” (1967)
Neko Case:
I’ve always loved “Two Sisters” the most. Ray Davies has this amazing quality that Roger Miller and Carolyn Mark have, where the song is sad and moving along and killing you. Then they say something that sounds like it should be almost comic—like “she ran around the house with her curlers on”—and it sends you over the edge and breaks your heart. It feels so good and so humbling.

10. “COME DANCING” (1983)
John Roderick, the Long Winters:
It might not be the “coolest” Kinks tune, but “Come Dancing” managed to make me, at age 14 back in 1983, nostalgic for trying to cop a feel at a big-band concert in Brighton Beach, England, in 1959. That is an amazing feat of songwriting.

11. “SUNNY AFTERNOON” (1966)
12. “SEE MY FRIENDS” (1965)
13. “YOU REALLY GOT ME” (1964)
14. “VICTORIA” (1969)
15. “ANIMAL FRAM” (1968)
16. “THIS TIME TOMORROW” (1970)
17. “ALL DAY AND ALL OF THE NIGHT” (1964)
18. “PICTURE BOOK” (1968)
19. “THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY” (1968)
20. “BETTER THINGS” (1981)

As chosen by: Lou Barlow, Kevin Barnes, Charles Bissell (Wrens), Sonic Boom, Britt Daniel (Spoon), Black Francis, Robyn Hitchcock, Sam Jayne, Tommy Keene, Mac McCaughan (Portastatic), Scott McCaughey, Rhett Miller, John Roderick, Robert Schneider, Will Sheff, Steve Wynn and Jon Langford, Steve Goulding & Lu Edmunds (Mekons)

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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