TiVo Party Tonight: Gomez

tivogomez4527Ever wonder what will happen during the last five minutes of late-night TV talk shows? Here are tonight’s notable performers:

The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien (NBC): Gomez
Tonight, Gomez will be playing “Airstream Driver” on Conan, off latest album A New Tide (ATO). The band is finishing up a U.S. tour and then will be spending the fall gigging throughout Europe and Australia.

Kiss And Tell: Ace Frehley On New York City

acefrehleyIt could be argued that Ace Frehley was the most influential guitarist of the ’70s. When Kiss hit its commercial peak, there was no rock band more entrenched in the minds of America’s youth. Frehley teamed up with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss to form Kiss in New York City in 1973; they donned outrageous makeup and costumes and assumed comic-book hero personas. Though Criss wore the feline face paint, it’s Frehley who seems to have had nine lives. After leaving Kiss in 1982, Frehley embarked on a solo career, releasing three albums and compiling a laundry list of troubles that included drug and alcohol addiction, bankruptcy and high-speed car chases with the police. The now sober Frehley is set to release Anomaly, his first solo album in two decades. Read our Q&A with him.

nycAce Frehley: My hometown! What can you say about the greatest city in the world!?! This place has had its share of ups and downs, but New York City always recovers. The people here are tough, no doubt about it. I’m proud to say I still make New York my home. I’ve lived in Hollywood a few times over the years, but I always return to the Big Apple. To me and to a lot of people, Kiss will always be associated with New York despite the fact that the current band now has that famous 90210 zip code!!!

MP3 At 3PM: Vivian Girls

viviangirlswall4957Vivian Girls, Brooklyn’s critically acclaimed female punk trio, is back with a follow-up to 2008’s self-titled debut album. Everything Goes Wrong (due in September on In The Red) promises to be lengthier than Vivian Girls while still preserving the group’s penchant for fuzzed-out melodies and slapstick drumming. Check out single “When I’m Gone” below, and be sure to catch Vivian Girls as they tour the U.S. in the upcoming months.

“When I’m Gone” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/WhenImGone.mp3

Q&A With Ace Frehley

acefrehley550d

It could be argued that Ace Frehley was the most influential guitarist of the ’70s. When Kiss hit its 1976-79 commercial peak, there was no rock band more entrenched in the minds of America’s youth. And if you asked random Kiss fans who was their favorite member, the answer was more often than not “Ace.” It’s no wonder some of the most successful artists of the last 10 years—from Garth Brooks to Pearl Jam—have cited Frehley and Kiss as major influences. Frehley teamed up with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss to form Kiss in New York City in 1973. Taking the glitter ball from their NYC glam-rock contemporaries and running with it, the members of Kiss donned outrageous makeup and costumes and assumed comic-book hero personas: Simmons, the demon; Stanley, the lover; Criss, the catman; and Frehley, the otherworldly spaceman. Frehley’s “Space Ace” persona and fiery, melodic guitar solos would become key factors in Kiss’ rise to arena superstardom. It was Frehley who designed Kiss’ iconic logo.

Though Criss wore the feline face paint, it’s Frehley who seems to have had nine lives. After leaving Kiss in 1982, Frehley embarked on a solo career, releasing three albums and compiling a laundry list of troubles that included drug and alcohol addiction, bankruptcy and high-speed car chases with the police. In 1996, Frehley reunited with Kiss for a string of successful tours as well as an album of new material, 1998’s Psycho Circus, before playing his final show with the band in 2002. While Simmons and Stanley continue to tread the boards in a verging-on-tribute-band incarnation of Kiss (drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer wear Criss’ and Frehely’s respective makeup and costumes), the now sober Frehley is set to release Anomaly, his first solo album in two decades.

Frehley recently took a moment to talk with Superchunk/Mountain Goats drummer (and onetime Kiss Army member) Jon Wurster. Frehley will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week.

Continue reading “Q&A With Ace Frehley”

Wrens Watch, Aug. 3, 2009

wrenswatch92111111111111122111We’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Sleepy.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—28 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 25 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pagesTwenty weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Nineteen weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 18 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 13 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 11 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 10 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Nine weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported eight and seven weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Six weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails five weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Four weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you three weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Two weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly last week, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” On Tuesday, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People. Anyway, Friday marked the 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens. Wow, those guys must be old.

Film At 11: George Pelecanos And The Pogues, Part 2

We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re huge fans of crime novelist George Pelecanos, whose taste in music is very similar to MAGNET’s and who has contributed to the magazine a few times over the years. We’re also huge Pogues fans. So we’re thrilled to bring you this video footage of Pelecanos reading from his latest novel, The Way Home, at a London pub called Boogaloo, followed by an excellent mini-set by the Pogues (playing their first pub gig in 26 years). Watch part one of the video. Read our week-long overview of Pelecanos and his books.

MP3 At 3PM: Slaraffenland

slaraffenDenmark’s Slaraffenland (translated: the land of milk and honey) takes the ambiance of Sigur Rós and the rich vocals of the Cure to create uniquely robust, yet simply soothing tunes. The Copenhagan natives will be releasing their new album, We’re On Your Side (Hopetapes), on September 15. We’re On Your Side features “Meet And Greet,” a folk-inspired song that forces your toes to tap.

“Meet And Greet” (download):

In The News: Flight Of The Conchords, El Perro Del Mar, Kings Of Convenience, Deer Tick And Free MP3s

flightoftheconchords51Backstreet’s back, all right! In news we’ve all been waiting for, the Backstreet Boys (minus one original Boy; Kevin Richardson, if you must know) treat us to This Is Us (Jive) on October 6. It’s the group’s seventh LP (unbelievable) and first since 2007’s Unbreakable … From the ridiculous to the sublime, Kiwi TV stars Flight Of The Conchords (pictured) will release I Told You I Was Freaky (Sub Pop) on October 20. The duo’s tunes are hilarious on the small screen, so stuff like “Too Many Dicks (On The Dance Floor)” and “You Don’t Have To Be A Prostitute” will surely at least bring a chuckle through the hi-fi. The guys won the 2008 best comedy album Grammy for debut The Distant Future. Download “Business Time” and “Ladies Of The World” … October 20 is a good day, as Sweden’s Sarah Assbring (best name in rock?), otherwise known as El Perro Del Mar, also offers her third full-length, Love Is Not Pop (The Control Group). Assbring will support Peter Bjorn And John on a November North American tour. Download “Glory To The World” … Hey, more October 20 goodness: Norwegian duo Kings Of Convenience will release Declaration Of Dependence. It’s their first outing since 2004’s Riot On An Empty Street … In other foreign music news, Welsh band Manic Street Preachers testify September 15 with Journal For Plague Lovers (Columbia), produced—sorry, recorded—by Steve Albini. The band will then embark on its first North American tour in 10 years … Americana (that’s what we call alt-country now, right?) mainstays the Bottle RocketsLean Forward (Bloodshot) is out August 11. A fall tour follows. Download “Better Broken” … Continuing to flog Born On Flag Day (Partisan), released in June, Deer Tick hits the road this month. Dates into November include a September 6 show in Ithaca, N.Y., with the Hold Steady. Download “Smith Hill” … On September 1, punk pioneers Richard Hell And The VoidoidsDestiny Street Repaired (Insound) hits the, uh, streets. The release is a re-recorded and improved (so they say) version of the band’s second and final record, and as usual, the package includes way too many formats and bonus crap to go into in this space … The Velvet Underground‘s Singles 1966–69 (Sundazed) collects the legendary band’s seven-inch vinyl output in their rare mono versions. Pre-orders of the boxed set are available here … From the sublime to the ridiculous, every gig from Parrothead cult leader Jimmy Buffett’s Summerzcool (a spelling more annoying than Spoon’s “Got Nuffin”) tour will be broadcast on Sirius XM Radio’s Radio Margaritaville (of course). Plan now to catch, or avoid, the August 6 Cincinnati concert that kicks off the next leg of this unending jaunt. Pass the coral reefer.

Au Revoir Simone Tour Diary: Portland, OR

au_revoir-bookBrooklyn trio Au Revoir Simone recently took to the road to promote its latest pop confection, the keyboard-buzzing beauty Still Night, Still Light. Annie Hart reports:

After Austin, my favorite place in the country to visit is Portland, Ore. It is pretty much an Annie Hart nearly perfect fantasy land. Bike lanes, excellent mass transit, pretty gardens, fresh produce aplenty, coffee that makes me salivate and the ultimate bookstore, Powell’s. I have a hard time with Powell’s. Usually I get in trouble whenever I come to Portland with whatever band I happen to be playing with, because I tend to bail as soon as soundcheck is over, the kind of bailing where cymbal stands get knocked over and brief mumbles are goodbyes, all in an effort to be able to spend as much time as possible gently perusing the aisles, getting lost in every section, admiring fonts and book cover designs, reading paragraphs off every 10th random book I see and ending up with a heavy pile of books that I can only manage to carry because years ago my kindly children’s librarian consistently saw me struggling with piles of books when I was a kid and taught me how to properly stack a bunch of books in my hands—in other words, a pile unwieldy to most normal humans. However, on this particular occasion, I had planned my purchases in long daydreams through the desert and up the coast of California and ended up with a concise, easy-to-find variety:
1. Houseplant care guide
2. Interesting magazine/zine (easy to read in car when bored)
3. Serious political American history (difficult to read in the car when bored)
4. Needlepoint encyclopedia (to get ideas for projects I will never finish)
5. Quality Agatha Christie books (I hate fiction in general but stick to the classics for culture’s sake)

For the latter, I spent what felt like an hour in the “C” section of the mystery department, stalking multiple white-haired ladies, asking for advice on which book to buy. I don’t know if it is my New York accent coming out more strongly than usual these days, or maybe elderly women are not used to being accosted whilst shopping, but every one denies having read any Agatha Christie, which sends my stereotypes right out the window and leave me guessing which book to get based purely on casual familiarity with the title and the best-looking cover. In the end, I either made the right decision, or all her books are excellent. Perfect tour reading. I’ve been recommending her to all my touring band friends looking for a read in the car. More after the jump.

“Sad Song (RAC Mix)” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/SadSongRACMix.mp3 

Continue reading “Au Revoir Simone Tour Diary: Portland, OR”

Film At 11: George Pelecanos And The Pogues, Part 1

We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re huge fans of crime novelist George Pelecanos, whose taste in music is very similar to MAGNET’s and who has contributed to the magazine a few times over the years. We’re also huge Pogues fans. So we’re thrilled to bring you this video footage of Pelecanos reading from his latest novel, The Way Home, at a London bar called Boogaloo, followed by an excellent mini-set by the Pogues (playing their first pub gig in 26 years). Read our week-long overview of Pelecanos and his books.