Rhett Miller’s Superfriends: Tom DeSavia

rhettmillerlogo100cc2We asked Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller to guest edit magnetmagazine.com this week, and he pawned it off on a bunch of his famous friends: other musicians, actors, writers and comedians. Well played, Rhett. But you can’t hide behind a self-titled solo album. Rhett Miller (Shout! Factory), a Beatlesque beauty featuring Jon Brion, is out this week.

phantasmshot2lru3Tom DeSavia signed the Old 97’s to Elektra, then went back to be the VP of ASCAP, then recently quit to help run the publishing company Notable Music. He is a hairy man. Tom DeSavia recommends:

Phantasm
1979’s Phantasm remains the greatest horror movie ever. “If this one doesn’t scare you, you’re already dead”: best film tagline ever?

Best portable photobooth
iPhone app QuadCamera kinda rules.

Best burger in Los Angeles
Pasadena’s Pie ‘N Burger. Don’t believe me? You’re wrong.

Logrolling
New Rhett Miller self-titled disc. Kicked my ass. Let it kick yours, won’t you?

Self-logrolling?
Coolest Tin Pan Alley songwriter you probably never heard of: Cy Coleman.

Film At 11: Eugene Mirman

This is for MAGNET’s four high-school readers. (We are sorry your parents got you a subscription. We know they mistook us for Alternative Press. But wasn’t it fun learning all about Ray Davies and the Kinks?) Below, comedian Eugene Mirman (Flight Of The Conchords, some upcoming Sub Pop stand-up album) gives the commencement speech to his alma mater, Lexington High School, in Massachusetts. Always remember these words: “Don’t forget to follow your dreams, unless your dreams are stupid.”

Jazz Notes: Vision Festival, Day 4

charlesgayle400iThis week, MAGNET’s Mitch Myers reports from the Vision Festival, the avant-garde jazz event in New York City.

As the week wears on, I’ve noticed one thing about the (14th) Vision Festival—that is, it’s a lot of the same people. Every night, it’s the same staff, the same vendors, as well as much the same audience and, often, the same musicians. Not that there is anything wrong with that—a number of music fans came from points abroad (Germany, Japan, etc.) just to see William Parker and company stroll out the representative best of their free-jazz subculture.

Things seemed a little off-kilter on Friday, and although the music started late and was subsequently rushed throughout the evening, there were still plenty of fascinating musical moments. Miriam Parker’s Corridor combined her interpretative dance routine with the atmospheric sounds of Jason Kao Hwang’s violin and Joseph Daley’s tuba. Parker was elegant, agile and lovely, while Hwang and Daley provided the perfect avant-garde ambience to compliment her performance.

The Charles Gayle Trio was an appropriate choice for the Vision Festival, and Gayle (pictured) was absolutely commanding on alto and tenor saxophone. He is a humble, expressive musician who has overcome some imposing obstacles in his life (including homelessness), and although his noted saxophone style is still intense, his overall sound is kinder and gentler these days. With bassist Lisle Ellis and drummer Michael Wimberly, Gayle gave an amazing performance and finished up the set on piano. Let’s all pay more attention to Charles Gayle!

The Ayler Project is a quartet devoted to the music and memory of late saxophonist Albert Ayler, who provided a guiding light to many during the free-jazz explosion of the 1960s. Trumpeter Roy Campbell is the leader here, but saxophonist Joe McPhee, drummer Warren Smith and bassist William Parker all contribute equally. The band’s first performance in America was all it could be with a spoken invocation from “Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe” followed by hymns, marches, meditative chants and expressive blaring. Those familiar with the Ayler songbook were thrilled, except for certain nitpickers (i.e., me) who wanted to hear the composition “Ghosts.” Maybe next time.

The evening concluded with a segment featuring critically acclaimed saxophonist Zim Ngqawana, who hails from South Africa, supported by Vision Fest all-stars such as pianist Matthew Shipp, drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Parker. I missed the show, but it was supposed to be a big deal and the place was packed when I left. Maybe I can ask some of those same people about it when I return to the Vision Festival tomorrow.

—Mitch Myers

Rhett Miller’s Superfriends: Greg Behrendt

rhettmillerlogo100cc2We asked Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller to guest edit magnetmagazine.com this week, and he pawned it off on a bunch of his famous friends: other musicians, actors, writers and comedians. Well played, Rhett. But you can’t hide behind a self-titled solo album. Rhett Miller (Shout! Factory), a Beatlesque beauty featuring Jon Brion, is out this week.

flipsidecrackersGreg Behrendt wrote a little book you might have heard of called He’s Just Not That Into You. He had a TV show. He kills on comedy stages world-wide. He plays in a band called the Reigning Monarchs that rocks! And his wife Amiira is still somehow cooler than him. Wow! Greg Behrendt recommends:

Flipsides Pretzel Crackers
I am not cracker savvy, but my mother-in-law turned me on to the half-cracker/half-pretzel joy of the Flipsides. Oh my God, they fuck your mouth with flavor.

MP3 At 3PM: Cub Country

countryclub390Cub Country started out as ex-Jets to Brazil bassist Jeremy Chatelain’s solo project, originally based on alt-country riffs that didn’t fit into the JTB aesthetic. It’s grown into so much more. For your listening pleasure, here’s “After The Song’s Been Sung,” a kind of bluesy tune from Stretch That Skull Cover And Smile, due July 7 on the Future Farmer label.

“After The Song’s Been Sung” (download):

Rhett Miller’s Superfriends: Kevin Seccia

rhettmillerlogo100cc2We asked Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller to guest edit magnetmagazine.com this week, and he pawned it off on a bunch of his famous friends: other musicians, actors, writers and comedians. Well played, Rhett. But you can’t hide behind a self-titled solo album. Rhett Miller (Shout! Factory), a Beatlesque beauty featuring Jon Brion, is out this week.

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Kevin Seccia writes a useful blog called How To Beat Up Anything. He used to box. He does comedy in many forms. His headshot adorns my garage wall. For real. Kind of a looker. Kevin Seccia recommends:

Potential by Ariel Schrag
Likewise is Ariel Schrag‘s most recent autobiographical comic, but start with 2000’s Potential, if you haven’t read it. It’s a hilarious, thoughtful and sometimes mindbogglingly uncomfortable look at the author’s high-school years. She captures that experience perfectly while also coining phrases I’ve stolen for my regular life and delivering the best advice I’ve ever seen for how to put together a solid outfit. Buy it!

Incognito by Ed Brubaker
The word “gritty” is overused. It’s been cheapened, sullied and defanged—turned into a hollow shell of its old self. And now, here I am wanting to use it to describe something actually gritty, and it’s just not getting it done. OK, forget gritty, this Ed Brubaker comic is like getting punched in the face by a sandpaper-covered fist, only halfway through getting hit you realize you kinda like it. A dark (another useless word), noir-ish, supervillain tale that will make you angry at the lesser comic books you’ve been wasting your time on.

Travian.com
Travian is a super-nerdy, “swords and scrolls” game that’s great for geeks who can’t be bothered with interacting in person (D&D) or even pushing buttons rapidly (video games). All buttons here are pushed slowly, spread out over hours during which you should be working. Amass resources, form alliances and thrive socially, all while your real-world equivalents of the same things wither and die. Perfect.

Normal History Vol. 12: The Art Of David Lester

leasterv12370Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 25-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Questions from the audience … The recent Mecca Normal tour included “How Art & Music Can Change the World,” an art, music and lecture event that intends to inspire audiences to add political ideas to their creative self-expression. The lecture features David’s “Inspired Agitators” poster series, which includes Paul Robeson. At a high-school event, David talked about Robeson, outlining his beliefs and actions, telling the students that the U.S. government punished him by revoking his passport. After the lecture, two young Asian women—girls, really—came bounding up to ask, “What’s lynching?” At another lecture, a young woman looked bored out of her tree. Hunched in her chair, eyes down—I wondered if we were making an impression at all. Two weeks later she wrote to say that she and her friend had spent the rest of that night talking about things we’d said and that since then she’d been in an extremely creative mode. This is a realistic model of how small actions multiply into waves of inspiration that can change the world.

Rhett Miller’s Superfriends: Nick Offerman

rhettmillerlogo100cc2We asked Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller to guest edit magnetmagazine.com this week, and he pawned it off on a bunch of his famous friends: other musicians, actors, writers and comedians. Well played, Rhett. But you can’t hide behind a self-titled solo album. Rhett Miller (Shout! Factory), a Beatlesque beauty featuring Jon Brion, is out this week.

childrenshospital_06540

Nick Offerman is a great comedic actor. Also, a great actor. I met him when he was making the underrated cult-classic film Treasure Island. Currently, he is appearing alongside Amy Poehler in NBC’s Parks And Recreation. He exudes manliness, from his occasional mustache to his talent for building things out of wood. Total stud. Nick Offerman recommends:

Children’s Hospital
If you like funny people who make you blow beverages out your nose, then step up to Childrens’ Hospital, the hilarious web series created by Rob Corddry (The Daily Show, W., Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay) that crosses many of the lines you might imagine one might cross in a comedy set in a children’s hospital. With Megan Mullally, Ken Marino, Lake Bell and many other familiar faces from what is funny these days. (Spoiler Alert: Somebody puts a condom on a zucchini!) In 10 episodes at $5 a pop, it’s bursting with bang for your buck.

Rhett Miller’s Superfriends: John Dufilho

rhettmillerlogo100cc2We asked Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller to guest edit magnetmagazine.com this week, and he pawned it off on a bunch of his famous friends: other musicians, actors, writers and comedians. Well played, Rhett. But you can’t hide behind a self-titled solo album. Rhett Miller (Shout! Factory), a Beatlesque beauty featuring Jon Brion, is out this week.

maushaus500

John Dufilho sings for the Deathray Davies and I Love Math. He plays drums in the Apples In Stereo and on my new solo album. He has “feel.” Lots of it. John Dufilho recommends:

Maus Haus
My favorite thing I’ve stumbled on in quite a while is a San Francisco band called Maus Haus. I heard them on an Internet radio station, flipped out and immediately got their record. It’s constantly on in my house. They combine most everything I love:60s pop-garage-electronic music/art rock/imagination. Great songwriting, very forward thinking. Check out “Rigid Breakfast” or “We Used Technology (But Technology Let Us Down)” for quick proof.

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Steve Martin‘s autobiography!

Film At 11: Holly Miranda

Lead singer of the Jealous Girlfriends, Holly Miranda (whose falsetto is sometimes reminiscent of Fiona Apple’s) is busy this month: She’s beginning a U.S. tour with AA Bondy, launching her website and debuting her Sleep On Fire EP. Check out her Takeaway Show featuring some of the songs from the EP; a free acoustic mp3 of “Waves” is also available on her site.