MP3 At 3PM: Yo La Tengo

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Never mind the Condo Fucks, here’s Yo La Tengo. “Periodically Double Or Triple” is the first mp3 from the forthcoming double album, Popular Songs (Matador). Its Hammond organ reminds us of Fakebook‘s “Emulsified” … and nothing else. Fun Fact: The Condo Fucks are playing in Cambridge, Mass., later this month with the Bevis Frond and Sleepyhead. We have to check the archives to be sure, but it’s the first time those three bands have been in one place since MAGNET issue #29 in 1997.

“Periodically Double Or Triple” (download):

DVD Review: “Not Alone: Rivers Cuomo And Friends Live At Fingerprints”

notalonedvd2001Here it is, for those of you—well, for the five of us—left cold by Brendan Canty’s technically accomplished but tiresomely fawning Ashes Of American Flags. Not Alone is a DVD record of Rivers Cuomo’s by-invitation jam session at Long Beach’s Fingerprints music store last November, with an unrehearsed group of 36 backup musicians, on the release date of Alone II. Pre-ordering the disc got you inside, whereupon Cuomo, clad in engineer togs, invited crowd members onstage to help him select and perform the 12-song set. (Yes, some douchebag yells “Freebird,” as a douchebag invariably will.) Though the first songs are understandably tentative and threaten to completely fall apart once or twice, the musicians, Cuomo included, gradually get their legs beneath them, breaking out into huge smiles and adapting their interpretations to the limits of the form; check their hoot-along singing of the guitar break on “Buddy Holly,” for example. If you can get into the pickup-game spirit, the overriding charm of the DVD is its collaborative energy, and Not Alone is as unpretentious a document of a contemporary performer’s art as we’ve seen in a while. Maybe it’s that the diminutive Cuomo looks all but swaddled in his railroad clothes, or maybe it’s that he’s so outnumbered by the “friends” who showed up to play, but there’s absolutely zero space between the star and the crowd, which is rare even for an in-store appearance. And you can read it in the faces of the Weezer buffs who showed—they’re stone fans, yeah, but they’re serious about this, and they want to do right by the guy’s music. When the death of both the music industry and the indie record store is wailed on all sides, it’s refreshing to be shown a reminder of how music, good music, begins: in a single room where people have gathered to make a beautiful noise.

—Eric Waggoner

From The Desk Of Holsapple & Stamey: Ukuleles For Peace

hp100bThere are many people who consider the first two albums by the dB’s to be just as influential as those revered early Velvet Underground releases. The singing/songwriting backbone of the dB’s was the tandem of Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, whose simpatico musical attraction was strong enough to fuel Mavericks, an excellent 1991 album by the duo. Eighteen years later, the longtime friends have released the equally stirring Here And Now. The pair has also begun recording again with the dB’s, including original bassist Gene Holder and drummer Will Rigby. Holsapple and Stamey are guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

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Peter: I performed at a Durham, N.C., benefit for Ukuleles For Peace a couple weeks ago, rendering semi-recognizable versions of “Marie” (Randy Newman) and “God Only Knows” (Beach Boys) on my ukulele. I had thought it might be a little far afield for the program, but the host group, the Durham Ukulele Orchestra, started the night with a ripping rendition of “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads. I was right in line, apparently. The beneficiaries of the profits of this show are trying to ally Jewish and Arab children by having them play these tiny, simple four-string jewels together and make a racket in the name of peaceful coexistence. I’m all for that. It’s an easy enough instrument to play and coax a tune out of, and it’s kid-friendly; I had my brother’s Arthur Godfrey Ukulele to learn on as a lad. The uke is not just for Hawaiian music; just ask Paul McCartney, who wailed on one for the Ram album. His late bandmate George Harrison was an ardent collector of ukuleles, and if you’ve never watched Jake Shimabukuro have his way with Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” you’ve missed an incredible performance. I’ve enjoyed my ukes for years; they’re small enough to play in a moving tour bus bunk without disturbing anyone with the sound or poking their eyes out as they pass through the hall. It’s four strings and no more, and you can’t make a more complex voicing than four notes, so every note needs to count toward your chord.

Film At 11: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Since the release of It’s Blitz! in March, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been quite busy. Between a world tour, Coachella and late-night appearances on Letterman, Fallon and Saturday Night Live, it’s amazing they’ve had time to round up a Geico caveman/werewolf to co-star in the new “Heads Will Roll” video. Which, come to think of it, is an especially interesting choice given drummer Brian Chase’s recent (and extensive) blog entry about his “physical and spiritual” conversion to vegetarianism. Karen O may want to use that perennially half-gloved hand to cover his eyes for the last 40 seconds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt0IlrQYOxM&feature=channel_page

From The Desk Of Holsapple & Stamey: Anton Fier And The Musican’s Path

hp100bThere are many people who consider the first two albums by the dB’s to be just as influential as those revered early Velvet Underground releases. The singing/songwriting backbone of the dB’s was the tandem of Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, whose simpatico musical attraction was strong enough to fuel Mavericks, an excellent 1991 album by the duo. Eighteen years later, the longtime friends have released the equally stirring Here And Now. The pair has also begun recording again with the dB’s, including original bassist Gene Holder and drummer Will Rigby. Holsapple and Stamey are guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

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Chris: Being a commercial “recording artist” and a musical entertainer is a vocation that has been with us since Thomas Edison and the wax cylinder. Being a musician is something much more ancient, however; it is a kind of calling that has been with us throughout human history. Nowadays, the two often travel hand in hand in the beginning; everyone with a certain minimum of musical or instrumental chops can make a CD. What happens after a while is that those first four or five chords and beats get fully explored. Where to go then? This is the constant dilemma of the popular musician; you get boxed in, and there’s often every commercial reason to keep repeating yourself. To use two examples from my experience, I’ve been very impressed by the way both Marshall Crenshaw and Ryan Adams, two guys who started with native talent and then sold a bunch of records and played all over the world, went back and resumed serious study of their instrument with teachers and were then able to expand their harmonic horizons and find new places to go, both as composers and players. And, of course, when Branford Marsalis came by last year to play on our new platter, it was easy to hear the work he’d put in, year after year, to evolve to where he is today. But the most inspiring recent example of this, for me, has been drummer (and composer and producer) Anton Fier. Fier had worked intensely hard early on for a shining career as a player; after his stint with the Feelies in the late ’70s, which was when I met him, he toured with Herbie Hancock and went from there to work with an amazing group of folks as both a recording and touring drummer. (A partial list includes Bill Laswell, Bob Mould, John Zorn, Yoko Ono, Jack Bruce, Laurie Anderson, Joe Henry, Matthew Sweet and his own evershifting ensemble, the Golden Palominos.) After two decades of this, he essentially stopped, took a deep breath and reinvented his playing entirely, with the help of a great teacher and–primarily—hundreds of hours of additional dedicated hard work. This wasn’t anything he had to do to make more money; it was, or so it seems to me, what he had to do to continue to pursue the call, to follow the path, of being a musician. After making this leap, after subsequent years of concentrated renewed effort, he reentered the fray, and the metamorphosis in his now highly dynamic and fluid playing has a jaw-dropping effect on anyone who hears or plays with him. (I mean this literally; mouths gape open.) He’s not playing stadiums; he’s behind the scenes in studios or small venues in NYC as often as not, but he is showing us all, day in and day out, what being a master musician is all about: hard work, passion and total dedication.

MP3 At 3PM: Lightning Dust

lightningdust540Those familiar with Canadian psych-rockers Black Mountain will surely enjoy the smaller yet similarly fuzzy sound of Lightning Dust, whose sophomore album, Infinite Light (Jagjaguwar), drops in August. Joshua Wells and Amber Webber manage to keep Lightning Dust a separate entity from their critically acclaimed other gig, and they compress the best elements of Black Mountain into a tidy and neat psych/folk duo. “I Knew” is the first single off Infinite Light, and it’s a fierce little tune that should please those familiar with Black Mountain’s 2005 self-titled debut. Look for Lightning Dust’s U.S. tour this fall.

“I Knew” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/IKnew.mp3

Telekinesis Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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The young man behind Telekinesis has already been hoisted upon the shoulders of Carrie Brownstein (the Sleater-Kinney guitarist wrote a glowing review of debut album Telekinesis!) and Chris Walla (the Death Cab guitarist produced the record). Meet Michael Benjamin Lerner, the Seattle musican who can’t move objects with his mind but does have special powers in the indie-pop realm. The well-schooled Lerner—a former student at Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts—let MAGNET have a peek at his perfect mix tape. Telekinesis! (Merge) is out now, and Lerner and Co. are currently on tour.

“Coast Of Carolina” (download):

“I Saw Lightning” (download):

Continue reading “Telekinesis Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape”

From The Desk Of Holsapple & Stamey: Max Indian

hp100bThere are many people who consider the first two albums by the dB’s to be just as influential as those revered early Velvet Underground releases. The singing/songwriting backbone of the dB’s was the tandem of Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, whose simpatico musical attraction was strong enough to fuel Mavericks, an excellent 1991 album by the duo. Eighteen years later, the longtime friends have released the equally stirring Here And Now. The pair has also begun recording again with the dB’s, including original bassist Gene Holder and drummer Will Rigby. Holsapple and Stamey are guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

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Peter: You Can Go Anywhere, Do Anything is Max Indian‘s debut album, self-produced and -marketed, which means don’t look for it at Best Buy. It has been a long time since an album knocked me out like this one has. The songs, written and sung by Carter Gaj, are what we like to call “Beatle-informed,” which means that they’re pop-rock of the highest order. The production is weird and swampy, as dark as Carter’s murmured vocals; whenever a tambourine or cymbal breaks through the darkness, it’s like lightning in a summer thunderstorm. There’s not a bad tune here. James Wallace co-produces and plays the clattering drums throughout. Anything resembling a rock cliché is turned just slightly askew enough to render it refreshed. It was brought to my attention that this record is mixed in mono. Does anyone really give a shit about that anymore? Me, I’m buyin’ the mono Beatle box, having just been gifted a download of the mono Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and having reveled in that glorious clarity. Max Indian has only left my car’s CD player long enough to let Chris borrow it. Live video for “Heaven Help Us” after the jump.

Continue reading “From The Desk Of Holsapple & Stamey: Max Indian”

Film At 11: Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy

Dave Douglas is a modern jazz trumpeter who’s played with John Zorn and collaborated with Tom Waits; he’s a multi-genre (he’s been involved with spoken-word and dance, klezmer and avant-garde), multimedia kind of guy. Filmmakers Jem Cohen (Fugazi’s Instrument) and Christoph Green (Wilco’s Ashes Of American Flags) made three shorts about Douglas and his band, Brass Ecstasy, working in the studio on Spirit Moves (Greenleaf, out June 16). The album features eight original compositions alongside arrangements of songs by Hank Williams, Rufus Wainwright and Otis Redding. MAGNET will be debuting a clip each Tuesday night—here’s part one:

TiVo Party Tonight: Green Day, Steve Martin And Paul Simon

tivogreenday2Ever 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): Green Day
Green Day follows Pearl Jam as the second musical act to appear on Conan’s Tonight Show. Discuss: Is Pearl Jam still America’s biggest band? Is Green Day America’s biggest band? Is Blubberball Canada’s fattest band? (That last question can only be answered by Jon Wurster.)

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC): Steve Martin, Paul Simon
We’re willing to be surprised here. Paul Simon is the scheduled performer, but Steve Martin has been known to strap on the banjo at the first hint of an opportunity.