Label Profile: Water Records

water-logobitMAGNET examines the recent output of a record label we love—or one that is at least temporarily in our good graces. For the inaugural edition, we examine Water Records, the mysterious San Francisco-based reissue imprint.


Flipper’s “Sex Bomb” from 1982’s Generic Flipper:

The Walker Brothers’ “Make It Easy On Yourself” from 1965’s Take It Easy With:

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Pat DiNizio Doesn’t Look Just Like Buddy Holly


Pat DiNizio has finally gotten around to cutting an album dedicated to Buddy Holly, the rock legend whose timeless originals inspired the frontman for New Jersey pop combo the Smithereens to quit his job as a garbage man and form the band 25 years ago. Pat DiNizio/Buddy Holly, due January 27 on Koch (in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Holly’s untimely death), finds DiNizio slowing down nine of his hero’s most achingly sincere ballads (“True Love Ways,” “Listen To Me,” “Words Of Love”) to a crawl, then adding baroque strings to carry the instrumental load. DiNizio’s gruff baritone is a surprisingly fine match for the best work of Holly, the bespectacled early rocker from Lubbock, Texas, who died in a plane crash in 1959 and is credited, along with the Everly Brothers, as being the principal influences on the Beatles. DiNizio finishes the set in upbeat fashion with two of Holly’s best-known rockers: “Peggy Sue” with strings and an a cappella doo wop version of “That’ll Be The Day.” Complete tracklisting after the jump.

“It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” from Pat DiNizio/Buddy Holly:

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A Good Winter For Bon Iver Fans

boniver515Fresh off his showing in the prestigious MAGNET Top 25 Albums Of 2008, Justin Vernon (a.k.a. Bon Iver) is back with Blood Bank, a four-song EP slated for a January 20 release on Jagjaguwar. No word on whether the scruffy troubadour went back to his cabin in the forest to record the new songs, although appropriately enough, the standout track is titled “Woods.” Rather than using a vocoder to mask his vocal deficiencies (we’re looking at you, Kanye), Vernon uses the voice-altering technology to construct a densely layered a capella performance guaranteed to send chills up your vertebrae. The other selections (“Blood Bank,” “Beach Baby” and “Babys”) hear Bon Iver return to the haunted, melancholy ground of For Emma, Forever Ago. Check it out for yourself at Bon Iver’s MySpace page, where the entire EP is streaming for a limited time. One final note: If you haven’t seen Vernon’s jaw dropping live rendition of Sarah Siskind’s “Lovin’s For Fools,” get your ass here to bear witness. Tour dates after the jump.

“Blood Bank” from Blood Bank:

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15 In Philly: Exiled From Broad Street

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.


In 1980, Hall & Oates left Philly for New York City, establishing a migratory pattern for opportunistic traitors—er, career-minded bands—in the decades to come.

Equal parts Rocky and the Replacements, MARAH gained fame as the gritty roots-rock band that recorded its debut above an auto-repair shop and signed to Steve Earle’s label. The Stephen King-endorsed Marah even called its second LP Kids In Philly. But grand ambitions to become the world’s biggest band led brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko to Wales in 2001, where Marah recorded with Oasis producer Owen Morris. The result? Float Away With The Friday Night Gods, a fart heard ’round the world.

“Christian St.” from Marah’s Kids In Philly:

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Noise Pop Festival Adds Bob Mould, John Darnielle And More

bobmould300b2Noise Pop 2009, which runs February 24 through March 1 in San Francisco, just added a handful of new acts to its already impressive lineup: Bob Mould (pictured), John Darnielle, Sholi, From Monument To Masses, Thao, the Ohsees and Sleepy Sun. In addition to the shows, art exhibits and panels, the festival will also feature film—confirmed documentaries include Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison, Gogol Bordello Non-Stop, I Need That Record: The Death (Or Possible Survival) Of The Independent Record Store, Of All Things and Agile Mobile Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams—and a flea market specializing in clothing, jewelry and accessories.

Bob Mould’s “The Silence Between Us” from 2008’s District Line: 

Gimme Shelter: Neko Case Free Download Benefits Animal Charity


Neko Case and her label (Anti-) are donating $5 to rescue organization Best Friends Animal Society for every blog post of Case’s new single, “People Got A Lotta Nerve.” The song from the forthcoming album Middle Cyclone (due March 3) can be downloaded by anyone for free at Anti-‘s label blog, where you can also view Case’s public service announcement for Best Friends. Money will be donated from now until February 3. Additionally, a $1 donation will be made for every iLike user who adds the song to his/her profile. We predict widespread support for this effort, except maybe from this blog. (Why do we even remember that?) To read our forecast of Middle Cyclone, click here.

“People Got A Lotta Nerve” from Middle Cyclone (download here):

The Whigs Stay In The Van, Work On New Album


After their best year ever—extensive tours with Kings Of Leon and the Kooks, sharing the stage with Band Of Horses on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta, bookings on all the relevant late-night talk shows (i.e., not Leno), the number-five album on MAGNET’s best-of-2008 listthe Whigs are finally ready to settle back down in Athens, Ga., to begin work on a follow-up to 2008’s Mission Control. After they play Madison Square Garden, that is. Not a bad way to start off the new year. No details yet on the upcoming album, but there’s a good chance the trio will be debuting some of its new material on the road. Tour dates after the jump. To read the feature we did on the Whigs last May, click here.

“Right Hand On My Heart” from Mission Control:

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15 In Philly: Philly Boy Roy

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.


Wassup, everybody? How youse doin’? When the guys from MAGNET asked me to recount my favorite Philly rock memories, my first thought was, “What’s MAGNET?” But then I thought, “Oh, it don’t matter, Channel 29 ain’t showin’ Rocky IV for another 45 minutes.”

The Beatles, Sept. 2, 1964
Ain’t got no actual verification, but my ma says yours truly got conceived on this night. Coulda been before, during or after the show. She don’t really remember.

The Hooters’ “South Ferry Road” from 1985’s Nervous Night:

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J Mascis Tours With Witch, Records With Dinosaur Jr

dinojrbridgecolor3Witch, the metal band featuring Dinosaur Jr frontman J Mascis on drums, will hit the road in February. The group, which also includes members of the freaky folky Feathers, released its sophomore LP, Paralyzed, last March. You can download it for free here. Dinosaur Jr is currently working with producer John Agnello (Hold Steady, Sonic Youth) on its follow-up to 2007 comeback LP Beyond. To read our career retrospective on Mascis and Co., click here. Witch tour dates after the jump.

Dinosaur Jr’s “Almost Ready” from Beyond:

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R.E.M. Has All The Right Friends And One Of The Wrong Ones

rem_press500R.E.M. fans with a charitable streak and plenty of disposable income may want to circle March 11 on their calendars. That’s the date of The Music Of R.E.M. tribute concert at NYC’s Carnegie Hall, with all of the net proceeds benefiting musical education programs for underprivileged youth. The list of confirmed artists so far is stellar: Bob Mould, the reunited Feelies, the dB’s, Marshall Crenshaw, Rhett Miller, the Apples In Stereo, Patti Smith, Glen Hansard (Frames, Swell Season) and others, with Calexico serving as the house band. (Darius Rucker of Hootie And The Blowfish, now a country singer, is also playing, providing the necessary beer/piss break.) Tickets range from $38-$125 for the great unwashed, but those not hit hard by the economic downturn can pay $275 for the VIP treatment. This includes the best seats in the house plus entrance to the private artist reception at City Winery featuring cuisine by celebrity chef Mario Batali. The Music Of R.E.M. is the sixth concert in a series of tribute/benefit shows presented by Michael Dorf at either Carnegie Hall or Avery Fisher Hall, with previous editions featuring the music of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and, um, Neil Sedaka.

Pavement’s 1994 cover of R.E.M.’s “Camera”: