From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: Hiroshi Teshigahara

carlnewmanpresscrop41“There are maybe 10 or 12 things I could teach you,” sings Carl “A.C.” Newman on his new solo album, Get Guilty (Matador). “After that, well, you’re on your own.” This week, MAGNET lets the New Pornographers frontman steer our website toward 10 or 12 of his own favorite things in music, film, literature and life.

Read our verdict on the orchestral-pop case of Get Guilty and a Q&A deposition with Newman here.

womandunes1Newman: Oddly enough, the thing that got me obsessed with Barcelona was a documentary on Antoni Gaudí that showed at the cinematheque in Vancouver. I just realized it was directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara. It came out on the Criterion Collection a few months ago. His famous movie is called Woman In The Dunes, from the mid-’60s. It got nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (in 1964) and Teshigahara was later was nominated for Best Director (in 1965). Most of his movies were written by Kobo Abe, who I’m also a big fan of.

Van Morrison To Issue Live “Astral Weeks”

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Famed blue-eyed soul singer Van Morrison‘s first-ever live performance of career-defining 1968 album Astral Weeks gets a February 10 release on his EMI-distributed Listen To The Lion label. The Northern Ireland-born R&B belter played the jazz- and blues-tinged milestone twice with a band that included a full string section last November at the Hollywood Bowl. Spotlighting swirling Morrison gems such as the title song and the gender-bending “Madame George,” Astral Weeks was Morrison’s first solo release for Warner Bros. after his Belfast-based beat combo Them topped the U.S. charts with British Invasion stalwarts “Gloria,” “Here Comes The Night” and “Mystic Eyes.” Morrison repeated his early chart success with his 1967 debut solo single “Brown-Eyed Girl” and a follow-up longplayer, Blowin’ Your Mind!, that featured such tortured classics as “Who Drove The Red Sports Car” and fabled nine-minute opus “T.B. Sheets.” Morrison will perform Astral Weeks as well as some of his other songs February 27 and 28 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“Astral Weeks” from 1968’s Astral Weeks:

Bring On The Major Leagues: The Fantasy Doctor Is In

steve-pic350Steve Alexander has a pretty sweet gig as senior editor of fantasy NBA basketball (and PGA golf) for Rotoworld.com. Getting paid to watch hoops and write about it? Sign us up. But other than the fact that there are a couple of fantasy geeks in the MAGNET office—in addition to the real-life geeks—why do we care about Alexander? Well, he’s in leagues with indie-rock stalwarts such as Stephen Malkmus and Built To Spill’s Doug Martsch, among others. So we contacted the genial Dr. A for the scoop on the rockers’ fantasy acumens, as well as tips for the three MAGNET readers who play fantasy basketball.

Band Of Horses’ “Detlef Schrempf” from 2007’s Cease To Begin:

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From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: Antoni Gaudí

carlnewmanpresscrop41“There are maybe 10 or 12 things I could teach you,” sings Carl “A.C.” Newman on his new solo album, Get Guilty (Matador). “After that, well, you’re on your own.” This week, MAGNET lets the New Pornographers frontman steer our website toward 10 or 12 of his own favorite things in music, film, literature and life.

Read our verdict on the orchestral-pop case of Get Guilty and a Q&A deposition with Newman here.

gaudi23Newman: I was obsessed with Barcelona for years. I was amazed at how beautiful the city was. I couldn’t believe someone with such a strange, surreal, Dr. Seuss-like aesthetic was allowed to build all these landmarks in Barcelona and basically change the face of the city. The architect Antoni Gaudí built Park Güell, which is this psychedelic park in the middle of Barcelona, and the Sagrada Familia. When I went to Barcelona with my wife, [Gaudí] was the main draw. Half the time we were there, we were just looking for Gaudí architecture. If you look around America, there are many beautiful things, but so much of it is artless. At some point in time, Barcelona was saying, “Gaudí, build us a psychedelic cathedral.” I wish more cities were like that. I can’t think of anybody else who has left such an obvious imprint on a city.

A nice Gaudí blog/photo tour of Barcelona here.

15 In Philly: Lifetime / Paint It Black / Kid Dynamite

Spend 15 years in Philadelphia and you’ll figure out that things in MAGNET’s native city aren’t always sunny or bursting with brotherly love. But underneath the tough exterior are some pretty sweet sounds. In honor of our anniversary, we pay tribute to our hometown scene.

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For a city so fertile with negative vibes, feelings of inferiority, raw anger and working-class toughness, Philadelphia has proven incapable of home-growing a decent, sustainable hardcore band. Even our old-school punk history pretty much started and ended with the lightweight, goofily smart-ass Dead Milkmen. Laying claim to the lineage of Lifetime—the New Brunswick, N.J., hardcore band that started in 1990 and spawned Philly-based outfits Kid Dynamite and Paint It Black (pictured)—is a necessary act of eminent domain.

Lifetime, “Young, Loud And Scotty” from 1997’s Jersey’s Best Dancers:

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From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: Gordon Lightfoot

carlnewmanpresscrop41“There are maybe 10 or 12 things I could teach you,” sings Carl “A.C.” Newman on his new solo album, Get Guilty (Matador). “After that, well, you’re on your own.” This week, MAGNET lets the New Pornographers frontman steer our website toward 10 or 12 of his own favorite things in music, film, literature and life.

Read our verdict on the orchestral-pop case of Get Guilty and a Q&A deposition with Newman here.

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Newman: I went on iTunes and started downloading songs by Gordon Lightfoot. I couldn’t remember how they went, but I knew that I liked them. He had an album called Endless Wire in the ’70s, and a song on that record called “Daylight Katy” is, I think, the greatest thing he’s ever done. He was one of Dylan’s favorite songwriters, which is pretty high praise. He’s Canadian; I have to throw in some Canadian content. There’s a very proud tradition of Canadian songwriters. If you throw in Gordon Lightfoot with Joni Mitchell and Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, that’s a pretty powerful collection.

For a bizarre video montage of dolphins and Katie Holmes set to Gordon Lightfoot’s “Daylight Katy,” click here. SFW. Maybe not safe for Katie Holmes.

Blue Note Records Turns 70

coltraine300bBlue Note Records—the label that cut its teeth in the ’50s and ’60s with crucial albums by such jazz stalwarts as Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, John Coltrane (pictured), Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Bud Powell, Jimmy Smith, Grant Green, Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Jackie McLean and Ornette Coleman—celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Founded by Alfred Lion, Blue Note was the most prolific of the five independent jazz labels from the ’50s—a short list that included East Coast imprints Prestige and Atlantic as well as California-based Contemporary and Pacific Jazz. Although it occasionally dabbled in New Thing-style free jazz by Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Bobby Hutcherson, Sam Rivers and Andrew Hill, Blue Note was best known for the distinctive hard-bop sound of its ensembles, which frequently featured lineups with tenor sax, trumpet, piano, bass and drums. To mark the milestone year, the Blue Note 7, featuring tenor saxman Ravi Coltrane (son of John), has hit the bricks for 50 U.S. dates and just released Mosaic: A Celebration Of Blue Note Records, which contains updated versions of eight of the label’s classic tracks.

John Coltrane’s “Blue Train” from 1957’s Blue Train:

What’s On Deck For Steve Wynn

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Erstwhile Miracle 3 frontman Steve Wynn is a first-ballot MAGNET hall of famer: Check out our 2001 interview of Wynn conducted by acclaimed novelist George Pelecanos (who went on to be a writer/producer for HBO series The Wire). Wynn—who helmed seminal Paisley Underground band the Dream Syndicate—teamed up last year with Minus 5/Young Fresh Fellows mastermind Scott McCaughey (along with Peter Buck and Wynn’s wife, drummer Linda Pitmon) to create the Baseball Project, whose Volume 1: Frozen Ropes And Dying Quails was a stellar homage to the national pastime and quickly became a staple around the office. Given our affection for all things Wynn, we got in touch with the prolific singer/songwriter to update us on his activities for 2009, which, thankfully, include another Baseball Project record. In addition to Up There: Home Recordings 2000-2007, a mail-order compilation of demos and other rarities that will be available later this year, here’s what Wynn (“I’m still behind Robert Pollard’s pace, but I’m only on my second cup of coffee this morning”) has going.

“Bring The Magic” from Steve Wynn And The Dragon Bridge Orchestra’s Live In Brussels:

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From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: Roberto Bolaño

carlnewmanpresscrop41“There are maybe 10 or 12 things I could teach you,” sings Carl “A.C.” Newman on his new solo album, Get Guilty (Matador). “After that, well, you’re on your own.” This week, MAGNET lets the New Pornographers frontman steer our website toward 10 or 12 of his own favorite things in music, film, literature and life.

Read our verdict on the orchestral-pop case of Get Guilty and a Q&A deposition with Newman here.

bolano245Newman: Roberto Bolaño died in 2003, but he’s become quite a hot author in the past couple years. Last year, his book from 1999, The Savage Detectives, was translated and published. His final book is a 900-page opus called 2666, and I’m about two-thirds of the way through it. In the worlds he creates, it seems that art and murder are often tied up together. It’s hard to describe, but his writing is dark and very beautifully written. He’s Chilean but spent most of his life in Mexico. I’ve been drawn to Latin-American writers recently; I don’t know why. A lot of people give Latin America credit for magical realism—Gabriel García Márquez being the most popular example—so that’s a somewhat common element of it, but Bolaño doesn’t really work in there. I can’t really tell you what links Latin American writers. It’s like when I was into R.E.M. as a teenager. I tried to find music like theirs by listening to the other bands from Athens, Ga. I found out Bolaño was a huge fan of Julio Cortázar, so I read him and that leads to other people like Carlos Fuentes, which leads to Juan Rulfo which leads to José Donoso and so on.

The New Yorker profiled Bolaño in 2007; read it here.