MP3 At 3PM: Carbon Leaf

carbonleaf400 It’s weird that Carbon Leaf cites influences such as Phish, R.E.M., Dave Matthews Band, Neil Young and the Pogues, because the group only vaguely resembles any of them. The band began mainly as a Celtic/bluegrass outfit, which would utterly confuse those who listened to its eighth album, the somber alt- and folk-rock Nothing Rhymes With Woman (Vanguard).

“Lake Of Silver Bells” (download):

Normal History Vol. 13: The Art Of David Lester

lester13365Every 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.

Music: a physical, emotional and intellectual infrastructure that, regardless of intention, passes closest to experiencing essence. Closer than other art-i-tectures (art “manner, mode” + tekton “builder, carpenter”). Essence = being. Rock, where traditional and commonly held beliefs are subverted or derailed, commandeered for use in comparative explorations. Destination: essence. In jazz, mutual understandings of conventional structures from which to deviate astound in ways that rock—from roll to punk—doesn’t. Music more like art, where technicians bust out in abstractions closer to the semi-savant syndrome expressions of untrained outsider artists, who, if not cynical imitators employing the power of deception, are driven beyond intention, to experience being inside the things they make. For further explanation, contact the author: throwsilver@hotmail.com.

From The Desk Of Bob Mould: Kombucha

bobmouldlogoBob Mould is a man always on the lookout for a new challenge. After Hüsker Dü (one of the most celebrated rock bands ever) folded in 1988, Mould would helm another powerful trio, Sugar, before beginning a fascinating, ongoing series of solo releases that have ranged from introspective to danceable, from melodic to nearly chaotic. The enigmatic guitar (and cultural) hero is finishing up what promises to be a fascinating memoir to be published next year and has just released a rock-solid solo disc, Life And Times. Read our new Q&A with him and earlier ones from 2008 and 2002. Mould will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week.

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Mould: I was introduced to Kombucha by my friend Kirk, a personal trainer in California who specializes in the discipline of the kettlebell. I may not be doing the art form justice, but a layman’s description might be the swinging of an object that resembles a cannonball-sized object, which has a handle, with very specific form and routine. This type of integrated training stands apart from conventional weightlifting, which isolates muscle groups for development. One afternoon, Kirk and I were joyriding, and he asked if I had ever consumed a Kombucha. I am an open-minded guy and usually up for a new taste sensation, especially one that is 100{e5d2c082e45b5ce38ac2ea5f0bdedb3901cc97dfa4ea5e625fd79a7c2dc9f191} natural. He offered up a smooth glass container, seven inches in height, which contained a half-liter of GT’s Kombucha.

The drink was called Trilogy. Hmm. It looked a fruity shade, with strands of live culture floating about, yet sounded like the name of a ’70s prog-rock band. The drink was effervescent, but not carbonated. The first sip tasted not like fruit, but more like vinegar. I slowly sipped on the beverage, paying attention to how my body might respond. After a few days of trying different flavors, I settled into a groove with Kombucha. Some flavors are sweeter, some bottles are more effervescent, and a few are downright difficult to drink. Earlier this week, I mentioned my voracious daily consumption of coffee. Now, in the mid-afternoon, I put down the java and head to the refrigerator for a refreshing Kombucha. I can’t imagine a day without enjoying one (or two) bottles of GT’s Kombucha, my preferred brand. I highly recommend Gingerade; if you enjoy the curative powers and cleansing effect of raw ginger when eaten between bites of raw fish, you will find great pleasure in this elixir.

Live Review: Miss Derringer, Philadelphia, PA, June 16, 2009

miss_d0270You could tell who the members of L.A.’s Miss Derringer were as soon as they walked into the crowded Khyber: the boys (guitarists Ben Shields and Morgan Slade, bassist Sylvain de Muizon and drummer Cody James) decked out in their rockabilly-styled outfits and singer Liz McGrath in her bright red uniform and feathers in her hair. When they took the stage, McGrath was all smiles and dancing as the band played ’50s rock ‘n’ roll, American style. The evening’s highlight was “All The Pretty Things,” during which Slade and McGrath dueled it out like Johnny and June. Miss Derringer’s new album, Winter Hill, will be out July 14.

“Black Tears” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/BlackTears.mp3

Film At 11: Why?

The Anticon label is best known for its avant-garde and unconventional rap releases, but Why? has hinted at taking its hip hop into more rock-solid territory. Yoni Wolf and Co. recently announced the follow-up to 2008 breakthrough Alopecia, to be released sometime this fall. Check out the video for Alopecia‘s “A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under” and eagerly await Eskimo Snow, the next installment in the bizarre and intriguing saga that is Why?

From The Desk Of Bob Mould: New Hampshire Marriage Laws

bobmouldlogoBob Mould is a man always on the lookout for a new challenge. After Hüsker Dü (one of the most celebrated rock bands ever) folded in 1988, Mould would helm another powerful trio, Sugar, before beginning a fascinating, ongoing series of solo releases that have ranged from introspective to danceable, from melodic to nearly chaotic. The enigmatic guitar (and cultural) hero is finishing up what promises to be a fascinating memoir to be published next year and has just released a rock-solid solo disc, Life And Times. Read our new Q&A with him and earlier ones from 2008 and 2002. Mould will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week.

gaymarriage1Mould: Same-sex marriage. To me, there are at least two things that make it such a polarizing issue. First, the notion of equal rights and protection under the law. It always saddens me to read reports of those who weren’t able to be at the bedside of their significant other in a hospital. What about those citizens who aren’t able to sponsor their overseas partner, while we have movies, packaged as romantic comedies, about “green card” marriages? What kind of signal does that send to people who are truly in love yet are kept apart by the legal system?

The second is ownership of the concept of Marriage™ and how that relates to religion. The arguments between the two sides on this point are exhausting and pointless for me to outline. Instead, I offer up the decision rendered by both the constituency and legislative arm of the state of New Hampshire. It states: “Each religious organization, association, or society has exclusive control over its own religious doctrine, policy, teachings and beliefs regarding who may marry within their faith.”

I firmly believe this precedent should be the main talking point in all future cases. By clarifying and formalizing the right of religious groups to decline participation in same-sex weddings, one of the main arguments has been neutered. By and large, I think most Americans do not care if same-sex marriage is legal; I do think many have a problem with marriages being recognized under their own particular religious belief. If proponents of same-sex marriage can live with the fact that the ceremony may not be allowed into a particular house of worship and those concerned with that very service occurring in their church are allowed to discriminate, can we all work with that understanding and move forward? I hope so.

MP3 At 3PM: Cotton Jones

cottonjones400If you’re looking for neo-Jefferson Airplane ’60s psychedelic folk rock, Cotton Jones has released its first full-length, Paranoid Cacoon, to summon the ghosts of Woodstock ’69. Former members of Page France, Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw offer dark, sensual vocals and Mamas And The Papas-inspired instrumentals that immediately deliver that smoky sound of the past. So take a break from ’09 with “Gotta Cheer Up” and “Blood Red Sentimental Blues.”

“Gotta Cheer Up” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/GottaCheerUp.mp3

“Blood Red Sentimental Blues” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/BloodRedSentimentalBlues.mp3

World Premiere MP3: Golden Bloom

goldenbloom400Nine different music mags/websites are each premiering a Golden Bloom track in the weeks leading up to the August 18 release of debut album Fan The Flames. That’s kind of like going to nine different theaters to watch different parts of Short Cuts. (There’s no way that movie was in theatrical release for that long.) MAGNET is proud to kick off the Summer of Golden Bloom, mainly because this album is redolent of mid-period Wilco; lead track “E.H.M.” sounds like an imaginary b-side to “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” featuring Scott McCaughey and appearing circa Summerteeth instead of Being There. Man, that was a lot of contortions for a Wilco comparison. Golden Bloom is led by Shawn Fogel (pictured) and features drummer Michael Azerrad, a music journalist whose Our Band Could Be Your Life recently became required reading for MAGNET interns unaware of the existence of Hüsker Dü and Big Black. That’s no way to go through life.

“E.H.M.” (download):

From The Desk Of Bob Mould: No Age

bobmouldlogoBob Mould is a man always on the lookout for a new challenge. After Hüsker Dü (one of the most celebrated rock bands ever) folded in 1988, Mould would helm another powerful trio, Sugar, before beginning a fascinating, ongoing series of solo releases that have ranged from introspective to danceable, from melodic to nearly chaotic. The enigmatic guitar (and cultural) hero is finishing up what promises to be a fascinating memoir to be published next year and has just released a rock-solid solo disc, Life And Times. Read our new Q&A with him and earlier ones from 2008 and 2002. Mould will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week.

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Mould: In years past, I typically spent Memorial Day weekends relaxing with friends in Rehoboth Beach, Del. In 2008, the Bob Mould Band (I know, speaking of myself in the third person, in a way) was in Barcelona as a featured act of the celebrated Primavera Sound Festival, a three-day, multi-stage panoply of noise/punk/indie artists. Well, except for Rufus Wainwright, who I don’t think fits any of those three categories. The journey from the previous evening’s band performance (and my subsequent DJ set at yet another club) in Paris is 1,100 km, which translates to 10 hours in the splitter van. A tall blue box on wheels rented in Frankfurt, a fact we were constantly reminded of by passing vehicles filled with young Euros who care not for the Germans. The ride of a splitter van is akin to a glorified bread truck loaded down with six men, their luggage and the entirety of their stage gear. You can feel the road, all right.

Upon arriving, we all headed to the artists’ hotel to obtain our credentials. Once the unremovable cloth “Working” wristbands were attached and the meal tickets were distributed, Rich Morel (my keyboardist) and I abandoned our entourage. Because we were in Barcelona for three days, Rich and I opted to stay at Hotel Axel, which is, according to its website, a member of “the first hotel chain in the world focused on the gay community.” Rock festivals, when well-organized, can be great fun. But if I have days off during a tour and it doesn’t interfere with tour logistics, I prefer to stay with my gay brothers and sisters. After a very late night of bar hopping, Rich and I rejoined the troops at the festival site. That evening, we effortlessly rendered a top-notch show for a large and enthusiastic audience. After the set, the band and crew headed for the catering area. The usual cast of characters, including J Mascis and Lou Barlow, were milling about the dining hall. As I was settling into my seat with a fluffy dessert and a cup of coffee, I was approached by a young lad who was hobbling with the aid of a walking cane. As it turned out, it was Dean Spunt, the drummer/singer of No Age, a band whose music I had recently heard for the first time. We spoke for a few moments, got the mutual-appreciation part out of the way, and then I asked about the injured leg. Dean informed me that he had messed up his leg trying to avoid paying the bathroom fee at a Sanifair in Germany; specifically, by attempting to sneak through the “children’s entrance,” which was a three-foot cutout of a child, next to the pay turnstile. (Kids, don’t try this at home.) I did not attend No Age’s show that weekend but have since seen them many times. We even played two songs together a few months ago, at their Noise Pop gig in San Francisco. Dean and Randy Randall are good guys who make great music; equally important, they give back to their friends, peers and the scene from which they emerged. That’s real punk rock.

“Teen Creeps” (download):