From The Desk Of Steve Wynn: Vin Scully

wynnlogo3Fifteen years after he scratched a lifelong itch and moved to New York City, Steve Wynn has settled in nicely to life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The relocation also breathed fire into a music career that already had notched landmark albums by his first band, the Dream Syndicate, collaborations with Gutterball and a slew of excellent early solo releases. Once he turned 40, Wynn rolled up his sleeves and really went to work, cranking out masterpieces like 2001’s Here Come The Miracles and 2003’s Static Transmission. Wynn, wife/drummer Linda Pitmon, Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Scott McCaughey (Minus 5) are set to begin a U.S. tour. Read our Q&A with Wynn. (Also read our 2001 Q&A with Wynn, conducted by novelist George Pelecanos, as well as our overview of the Dream Syndicate and its fellow Paisley Underground bands.)

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Steve Wynn: Vin Scully has been the Los Angeles (and previously Brooklyn) Dodgers’ play-by-play announcer since 1950. Is that enough for you? How about this? As he has for most of his career, he still calls the games alone, no wisecracking color commentator to give him a breather, not our Vinny. But enough of these Herculean feats of longevity and stamina—he’s also the best announcer in the history of the game. Listen to any game he calls. (The fact that you can listen to him these days from anywhere in the world on mlb.com is one of the best uses of the Internet, in my humble opinion.) You will be blown away by his knowledge, his poetry, his way of taking the game to whole new places at least a few times every inning. I hate to think of a day when he’s no longer on the radio. (Honorable mention: Phil Rizzuto’s O Holy Cow; order this book right now.) Video after the jump.

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MP3 At 3PM: Kiss Kiss

kisskiss400New York City’s Kiss Kiss has made some of the most stretch-of-your-imagination music of the last few years. No two songs sound the same on new album The Meek Shall Inherit What’s Left, which was recorded on two-inch tape in a house in upstate New York. This gave Kiss Kiss time to play around with its sound, including an array of homemade instruments along with traditional piano and violin.

“Innocent 1” (download):

The Over/Under: Britpop

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The Britpop phenomenon might have ended nearly 15 years ago, but it cast such a shadow over the U.K. music scene that its presence is still felt today. Where would groups such as Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys or the Killers be without Blur, Pulp and Oasis? Often maligned as a scene obsessed with fame and fashion, the mid-’90s saw a revival of British creativity and provided a pop-friendly rebuttal to the dominant American grunge sound. By looking backward to the Kinks and Beatles, Britpop set the musical standards for years to come. With Blur back together and Jarvis Cocker on tour, it’s the perfect time to examine the most overrated and underrated bands of the Britpop era.

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From The Desk Of Steve Wynn: “The Wire” And “Yacht Rock”

wynnlogo3Fifteen years after he scratched a lifelong itch and moved to New York City, Steve Wynn has settled in nicely to life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The relocation also breathed fire into a music career that already had notched landmark albums by his first band, the Dream Syndicate, collaborations with Gutterball and a slew of excellent early solo releases. Once he turned 40, Wynn rolled up his sleeves and really went to work, cranking out masterpieces like 2001’s Here Come The Miracles and 2003’s Static Transmission. Wynn, wife/drummer Linda Pitmon, Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Scott McCaughey (Minus 5) are set to begin a U.S. tour. Read our Q&A with Wynn. (Also read our 2001 Q&A with Wynn, conducted by novelist George Pelecanos, as well as our overview of the Dream Syndicate and its fellow Paisley Underground bands.)

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Steve Wynn: What do The Wire (pictured) and Yacht Rock have in common? Not much on the surface. One is five seasons of superlative TV, some of the best writing, directing and acting in the history of the 60-year journey from cathode tube to LCD flat-screen panel. And the other is a silly, sophomoric (but hilarious) Internet mini-saga (10 episodes of about five minutes each) of the L.A. “smooth rock” movement of the late ’70s. But they are both things that I discovered recently, a few years after the curve, then proceeded to drive everyone nuts with my belated enthusiasm and proselytizing. (“Yeah, Steve, I know,” friends would say. “I was into that two years ago.”) But they’re both amazing in their own way; the latter will take up much less of your time. And both left me with a feeling of sadness when I realized I had seen the last episode and there was nothing left. Sob. I hear there’s some cool show out there called Twin Peaks. I’ll have to check it out. Video after the jump.

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Film At 11: John Vanderslice

John Vanderslice has brought us the final installment of a three-part series of videos featuring the Magik*Magik Orchestra. Together, they perform “Promising Actress,” a song originally off Vanderslice’s 2004 album, Cellar Door, except this version is wonderfully acoustic and features vocals where chimes used to be. It’s possibly the best-sounding thing to ever come out of what appears to be a college classroom. Watch the first two videos after the jump.

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TiVo Party Tonight: Robert Cray

tivoclay4294Ever wonder what will happen during the last five minutes of late-night TV talk shows? Here are tonight’s notable performers:

The Late Show With David Letterman (NBC): Robert Cray
Here’s your fun fact for the week: In Animal House, Robert Cray played bass for the house band, Otis Day And The Knights. He’s also a very accomplished bluesman and a multiple Grammy winner. Tonight, he’s playing “Trouble And Pain” from This Time (Vanguard), his first studio record in five years.

From The Desk Of Steve Wynn: Albert Ayler And Ornette Coleman As Guitar Teachers

wynnlogo3Fifteen years after he scratched a lifelong itch and moved to New York City, Steve Wynn has settled in nicely to life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The relocation also breathed fire into a music career that already had notched landmark albums by his first band, the Dream Syndicate, collaborations with Gutterball and a slew of excellent early solo releases. Once he turned 40, Wynn rolled up his sleeves and really went to work, cranking out masterpieces like 2001’s Here Come The Miracles and 2003’s Static Transmission. Wynn, wife/drummer Linda Pitmon, Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Scott McCaughey (Minus 5) are set to begin a U.S. tour. Read our Q&A with Wynn. (Also read our 2001 Q&A with Wynn, conducted by novelist George Pelecanos, as well as our overview of the Dream Syndicate and its fellow Paisley Underground bands.)

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Steve Wynn: In the year or two before starting the Dream Syndicate, I spent hours and hours every day practicing guitar in the basement along with a handful of records. One of those records, no surprise, was Marquee Moon by Television. But the other two favorites were Albert Ayler’s Love Cry and Ornette Coleman‘s Dancing In Your Head. Both records are pretty open-ended, free-form (or “harmolodic,” as Ornette described it) and allow you to play anything. You can play anything and it will work, leaving you with the challenge to find the best anything that you could play. I swear, I got more pleasure and more ideas by playing along with these records than had I studied the entire works of Clapton, Page and Beck. Oh, and they’re great records for just listening as well. Video after the jump.

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MP3 At 3PM: Casiokids

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Norway’s Casiokids have taken chiptune and afrobeat, blended them with just about every genre under the sun and thrown in some old-school synths and bit-crushed keyboards. The result is somehow completely familiar while also entirely foreign. “Grønt Lys I Alle Ledd” is pretty indicative of Casiokids’ sound, complete with Norwegian lyrics you can only pretend to understand.

“Grønt Lys I Alle Ledd” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/GrontLysIAlleLedd.mp3

Q&A With Steve Wynn

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Fifteen years after he scratched a lifelong itch and moved to New York City, Steve Wynn has settled in nicely to life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. As he probably suspected it would, the relocation also breathed fire into a music career that already had notched landmark albums by his first band, the Dream Syndicate, meaty collaborations with Gutterball and a slew of excellent early solo releases. Once he turned 40, Wynn rolled up his sleeves and really went to work, cranking out masterpieces like 2001’s Here Come The Miracles and 2003’s Static Transmission. His most recent solo release, cut in ’08 with Chris Eckman in Slovenia, is Crossing Dragon Bridge, a moody, intoxicating gem not to be missed. Wynn has done pretty well recently on the home front, as well, marrying longtime girlfriend (and excellent drummer with his Miracle 3) Linda Pitmon last summer. Wynn, Pitmon, Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck are set to begin a U.S. tour for their 2008 joint venture, the debut by the Baseball Project, Frozen Ropes & Dying Quails, and the new one by McCaughey’s Minus 5, Killingsworth. (Read our 2001 Q&A with Wynn, conducted by novelist George Pelecanos, as well as our overview of the Dream Syndicate and its fellow Paisley Underground bands.)

“Manhattan Fault Line” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/ManhattanFaultLine.mp3

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