15 In Philly: The Friggs

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.

friggs

When the Friggs burst onto the Philly scene in 1991 with their debut single, a charmingly sloppy cover of the Troggs’ 1970 lust-charged “Come Now,” the all-girl quartet was still six months shy of its first show.

“Shake” from Today Is Tomorrow’s Yesterday:

Continue reading “15 In Philly: The Friggs”

From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: The Equals

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.

equalspoliceNewman: The Equals were Eddy Grant’s first group. It was an amazing shock to find out they existed. I love when you find a band you never heard about before and they’re completely amazing. I think Eddy Grant was 18 or 19, and he wore a blonde wig. They had one or two hits in England, and they did the original version of “Police On My Back” by the Clash. That’s an old ‘60s song by the Equals. Everyone thinks it’s a Clash song, but it’s a song written by Eddy Grant, the same guy who wrote “Electric Avenue.” The Equals are as good as the Troggs, I think, and in that same kind of style: driving, ‘60s hard rock with a real pop sensibility.

The Equals’ 1967 live performance of “Baby Come Back”:

Bill Callahan: Honky, Please!

billcallahan5002bpxIn today’s mail: an advance copy of Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle, the new album by Bill Callahan (the man formerly known as Smog). Callahan’s 2007 release, Woke On A Whaleheart, was understated and quite funny, lyrically, in a Lee Hazlewood kind of way; it really took a few listens for the dryly clever folk/pop songs to seep in. Which is why it’s so puzzling that Callahan’s label, Drag City (now identifying itself as “Drag City Alternative Medicine” on its mailing labels), saw fit to discourage illegal copying and filesharing of the similarly low-key Eagle by marring each track with … sounds of cars honking.

How did it come to this? (Wait, don’t answer that.) At least the honking is of the slightly wheezy, beeping variety. We’re thinking maybe it’s a Model T air-bulb horn run through a tube amp and recorded by Steve Albini.

Still, we can’t be mad at Drag City. They sent us the best Christmas card we’ve ever received.

“Diamond Dancer” from Woke On A Whaleheart:

Put Up Your Dukes: Hunter S. Thompson

hunter3555b

Two of MAGNET’s Matts—editor Matthew Fritch and writer Matt Ryan—go to the mat to see whose opinion is more correct. Today’s topic: gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Put up your dukes!

From: Matthew Fritch
To: Matt Ryan

For this inaugural edition of Put Up Your Dukes, I come to you with an honest question. It’s prompted by our coverage of The Gonzo Tapes boxed set in the most recent issue. I listened to some of it (nobody can listen to five discs of that maniac rambling). I decided to watch the 2008 documentary Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. What, exactly, is the appeal of this guy? Is it his confused self-image that mistakes “asshole” for “rebel”? His cliched macho obsession with guns and motorcycles? The fact that he treated his body like a garbage can? Please, god, don’t tell me it’s his writing.

“In Search Of The American Dream” from The Gonzo Tapes:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/InSearchOfTheAmericanDream.mp3

Continue reading “Put Up Your Dukes: Hunter S. Thompson”

From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: The Rock*A*Teens

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.

rockateens480Newman: The Rock*A*Teens broke up years ago, but I just got into them last year. I was floored at how good they were. Kelly Hogan, who sings with Neko (Case), was in the band. I think they’re one of the most underrated bands of the mid-’90s to early 2000s. Dan (Bejar) and Neko were both big fans, but I missed out on them for some reason. I can’t quite explain it: Few bands can pull off being sloppy and symphonic at the same time. They remind me a little bit of Frog Eyes, too. They were a guitar band whose songs sounded like they could’ve been played by a string quartet; instead, they played them with loud, reverby guitars. Sometimes it sounded like garage music. The really great bands are hard to describe. The Rock*A*Teens were so good and out on their own, I don’t know who to compare them to. The Pixies are the same way. The great bands are on their own. They just sound like themselves.

“What Took You So Long” from 1999’s Oh, Merge: Merge Records 10 Year Anniversary Compilation:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/WhatTookYouSoLong.mp3

15 In Philly: The Delta 72

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.

delta-72300

Somewhere between Jon Spencer’s trash-rock blues and the Make-Up’s R&B fakeout was the Delta 72, Philly’s sometimes brilliant, sometimes hucksterish soul-garage outfit. If you weren’t there for the tent-revival exhortations that charismatic singer Gregg Foreman performed onstage at America’s whitest rock venues, you missed it. But you can hear the Delta 72’s engine purr on the three albums the band issued on Touch And Go from 1996 to 2000.

“I Feel Fine” from 2000’s Ooo:

Continue reading “15 In Philly: The Delta 72”

Gossip: Bryan Ferry Is Still The Man

bryan-ferry2801He might not be at the level of snorting his father’s ashes, but we’ve got to give legendary Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry props for his latest debaucherous-chic scandal a la Keith Richards. London’s Daily Mail is reporting that the 63-year-old Ferry has been dating one of his son’s ex-girlfriends, 27-year-old Amanda Sheppard. Of course, behind the headlines the whole thing really isn’t that salacious. Sheppard and Ferry’s 23-year-old son Isaac had a short fling five years ago, so the only real “scandal” here is that the famously amorous elder Ferry is dating a beautiful woman less than half his age. So hats off to him. Get back to us when he starts dating one of his sons. To read the interview we did with Ferry in 2007, click here.

“Simple Twist Of Fate” from 2005’s Dylanesque:

From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: Giulietta Masina

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.

nightsclipb1Newman: Giulietta Masina was Federico Fellini’s wife. I’ve only seen her in a few movies, but she was in La Strada and Nights Of Cabiria. I’ve never seen a more striking actress. I can’t recall ever watching another movie and being so enthralled by someone. She’s kind of pixie-ish, she’s not particularly beautiful, and it’s almost like she’s overacting. She sometimes seems like she’s mugging sometimes like a silent film star. I want to watch her movies again just to watch her and not pay any attention to what’s going on in the movie. She’s a completely magnetic presence. She’s been compared to a female Charlie Chaplin, which makes her sound somewhat lame. I got into watching Fellini movies a while back, and she jumped out at me as being the greatest actress I’ve ever seen in my life.

Mates Of State Get Remixed, Prepare To Tour With Black Kids

matesofstate08530d

On the heels of their inclusion in MAGNET’s Top 25 Albums Of 2008, Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel are getting ready to release a remix EP of tracks from Re-Arrange Us. The four-song Re-Arranged: Remixes Vol. 1 (guess there’s more of them coming) will be out this spring on the Barsuk label. Vol. 1 features remixes by the Mae Shi (“You Are Free”), RAC (“Now”), DJ Sega (“Help Help”) and Flosstradamus (“The Re-Arranger”). Around the same time, Mates Of State will be hitting the road (with children in tow, no doubt) on a “co-headlining” tour with Black Kids. Given MOS are playing last on 19 of the 23 dates, we tend to think that they are the headliners and didn’t want to hurt Black Kids’ feeling. (Being parents, Gardner and Hammel are good at dealing with Kids.) Tour dates after the jump.

“Get Better” from Re-Arrange Us:

Continue reading “Mates Of State Get Remixed, Prepare To Tour With Black Kids”

From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: Pete Seeger

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.

peteseegeers

Newman: I went to see Pete Seeger a couple months ago. He’s one of the most inspirational people of the 20th century. He’s a classic example of somebody who couldn’t be held down. He started out in a band called the Weavers, who were very popular and did the hit version of the ‘50s song “Goodnight Irene.” When McCarthyism came along, Seeger got blackballed because he wouldn’t take any part of it. He really stood up for himself. The only work he could get was playing children’s camps. Years passed, and when the folk-music scene started, those people looked at him as a god. He was one of the main inspirations for that scene. Even now, he’s in his 80s and he’s very active, still protesting and (advocating for) cleaning up the Hudson River. He still plays shows and sings “This Land Is Your Land.” It’s hard not to watch Pete Seeger and get teary-eyed.

On Sunday, the 89-year-old Seeger performed “This Land Is Your Land” with Bruce Springsteen at Barack Obama’s inaugural concert in Washington, D.C.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg0wiOHc9tI