The Rosewood Thieves Mine King Solomon

rosewood_540c

Unabashedly backward-looking power-pop act the Rosewood Thieves are at it again in the wake of last year’s debut album, Rise & Shine, this time tapping “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul” Solomon Burke for an EP of covers titled Heartaches By The Pound. That a band with such a deep appreciation for musical history would go crate-digging for material shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with the Thieves’ rollicking vintage-rock stew, but what is a bit surprising is how naturally the collection came together. Sandpaper-voiced singer Erick Jordan was first exposed to Burke’s craft after hearing the Zombies’ cover of “Can’t Nobody Love You” (a song the Thieves also tackle on this collection), and from there his musical fascination grew, only to be helped along by—of all things—modern technology. “He MySpaced us, actually,” Jordan told MAGNET last year. “I said something about [my admiration for Burke] in a different interview, and I guess somebody forwarded it him so now we’re like ‘friends.’” That friendship developed to the point where Burke also wrote liner notes for the EP, which will be available for purchase at Rosewood Thieves shows starting February 20 in Philadelphia, as well as through iTunes and other online outlets on March 24. Complete tour dates after the jump. Read our profile of the band here.

“Can’t Nobody Love You” from Heartaches By The Pound:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/CantNobodyLoveYou.mp3

Continue reading “The Rosewood Thieves Mine King Solomon”

From The Desk Of Superdrag’s John Davis: Public Enemy Featuring Paris’ “Rebirth Of A Nation”

johndavisc1John Davis wanted rock ‘n’ roll, but he didn’t want to deal with the hassle. The Superdrag frontman broke up his band in 2003, got religion and issued a pair of solo albums, putting a seemingly tight lid on the legacy of his Knoxville, Tenn., outfit. Apparently, Davis is willing to be bothered again: Superdrag’s original lineup reconvened to record Industry Giants, a new album due March 17.

This week, MAGNET celebrates the return of Superdrag by handing Davis the reins to our website, where he’ll share his favorite music, films, food, literature and more. Read our Q&A with Davis about the comeback here.

public-2540

Davis: Rebirth Of A Nation was my favorite release of 2006. Both Public Enemy and Paris have consistently been coming hard with the truth ever since (P.E. on 2007’s How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? and Paris on last year’s Acid Reflex), but this record has stayed in regular rotation, and it deserves a place among the very best from both artists. Featuring Paris’ skilled production work and his formidable flow, plus performances by Dead Prez, Kam, MC Ren, the Conscious Daughters and Immortal Technique, this collection is proof positive that Public Enemy is as vital as ever, both musically and politically. The band is showing no signs of stopping the bum rush, even after 20-plus years in the rap game.

“Hard Rhymin'” from Rebirth Of A Nation:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/HardRhymin.mp3

Eight Days A Week: The Cure

Of all the evergreen subjects covered by rock ‘n’ roll (girls, street fightin’, cruisin’, California, love, god), the days of the week hold their own in terms of the sheer number of good songs meant to fete the seven that exist. (Plus the weekend, of course: whether we’re livin’ for it, workin’ for it or taking a Tuesday point of view of it.) MAGNET’s Corey duBrowa presents the best songs written about each day of the week.

:: FRIDAY: The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love” (1992)
cure360bPurists will argue about whether it’s the band’s best song (there are plenty of other contenders in the Cure’s lengthy back catalog; “Just Like Heaven” seems to be the consensus favorite if YouTube plays are any indicator), but this ode to Friday as the greatest among the many days of the week for love (“I don’t care if Monday’s blue”—a direct reference to New Order’s song—“Tuesday’s grey/And Wednesday, too/Thursday I don’t care about you/It’s Friday, I’m in love … Saturday, wait/Sunday always comes too late/But Friday never hesitate”) is perhaps the penultimate musical gateway to the weekend. “Friday I’m In Love” was nominated for a Grammy Award and its oh-so-90s “hey, let’s pretend we’re thespian amateurs for laughs!” video won the Best Music Video award from MTV in 1992 (way back when the outlet was actually playing, uh, music on television). It’s also proven to be the last commercial hit for the Cure in the U.S.

“Friday I’m In Love”:

From The Desk Of Superdrag’s John Davis: Stewart Pack

johndavisc1John Davis wanted rock ‘n’ roll, but he didn’t want to deal with the hassle. The Superdrag frontman broke up his band in 2003, got religion and issued a pair of solo albums, putting a seemingly tight lid on the legacy of his Knoxville, Tenn., outfit. Apparently, Davis is willing to be bothered again: Superdrag’s original lineup reconvened to record Industry Giants, a new album due March 17.

This week, MAGNET celebrates the return of Superdrag by handing Davis the reins to our website, where he’ll share his favorite music, films, food, literature and more. Read our Q&A with Davis about the comeback here.

stewardpack350Stewart Pack has been a hero of mine for many, many years, for a number of different reasons. When I first accosted him in a pawnshop in Knoxville in 1992, he never treated me like the teenage fanboy that I was. Stewart’s early-to-mid-’90s bands, One Nine Hundreds and Pegclimber, are not just among my favorite Knoxville groups ever, but my favorite bands ever, from anywhere. They were as good as some of the SST Records bands I idolized then (and still do) and better than some of them. Bassist Larry Brady was the other common denominator in both bands, with Morrie Rothstein and then Shayne Ivy handling the drums.

Stewart has composed, performed and produced an immense catalog of recordings in the years since, under an array of different monikers (Glowplug, Dinky Doo, Paperbacks)—sometimes under his own name, solo or with co-conspirators like Paul Turpin, Gregg Dunn, Phil Fuson and, most recently, guitarist Doug Gillard (Death Of Samantha, Cobra Verde, Guided By Voices). Beached Whale, a 15-track retrospective in “standard play” mode that contains five more albums in mp3 format, is a great place to start. Visit Stewart’s website to download the entire sample album free or purchase all six LPs’ worth of music for $15 postage paid. It’s so worth your while, I can’t believe you’re still reading this.

I’m regularly stopped in my tracks by one of Stewart’s brilliant songs. And did I mention his design work? Superdrag’s merch on tour more or less functions as a miniature gallery show of Stewart’s design. (See Last Call For Vitriol, Changin’ Tires On The Road To Ruin, John Davis, Arigato!, 4-Track Rock!!! and Industry Giants.)

“About Your Illness” from Beached Whale:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/AboutYourIllness.mp3

TiVo Party Tonight: Morrissey, Mark Olson & Gary Louris

Ever wonder what will happen during the last five minutes of late-night TV talk shows? They let musicians onstage! Here are tonight’s notable performers:

tivomorrisseydJimmy Kimmel Live (ABC): Morrissey
No offense to Sarah Silverman’s ex, but first reaction: Why is Morrissey doing this junior-varsity late-night show? According to this fan site, it’s actually part of a live outdoor mini-concert in Los Angeles. The obvious joke about a Morrissey “mini-concert,” of course, is how blink-of-an-eye brief that show would be for the 45-minute wonder.

Late Show With David Letterman (CBS): Mark Olson & Gary Louris
The reunion of these two ex-Jayhawks resulted in a recent album, Ready For The Flood. We were hoping for a dramatic storyline to be revealed about the Jayhawks’ breakup, but none seems to be forthcoming from this mild-mannered alt-country camp. It’s like if the cast of Northern Exposure got back together.

Morrissey’s “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” from Years Of Refusal:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/ImThrowingMyArmsAroundParis.mp3

The New Standards: Old Rock Guys In New Jazz Trio Play Old Rock Songs

newstandard540

For reasons we’ve not yet figured out, we’re almost smitten with the New Standards, a jazz trio that does covers of rock classics, recent pop hits and indie-rock favorites. (See full tracklist after the jump.) What makes the recently released Rock And Roll (Princess Records) any more enjoyable than, say, elevator-music versions of Nirvana songs or Christopher O’Riley’s maudlin piano interpretations of Radiohead? Maybe it’s the song selection: Elvis Costello’s “Watching The Detectives” and the Clash’s “London Calling” are natural fits for the piano/bass/vibes trio; “Maps” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and “Hey Ya” (OutKast) are surprisingly effective, too. (The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” is kind of a miss, however.) The members of the New Standards are Twin Cities veterans: bassist John Munson (Semisonic, Trip Shakespeare), pianist Chan Poling (Suburbs) and vibraphonist Steve Roehm (Electropolis). Speaking of Semisonic, drummer Jake Slichter wrote an honest and pretty funny 2004  account of that band’s encounter with one-hit wonderdom titled So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star.

“Maps” from Rock And Roll:

Continue reading “The New Standards: Old Rock Guys In New Jazz Trio Play Old Rock Songs”

From The Desk Of Superdrag’s John Davis: Charles Mingus’ “Oh Yeah”

johndavisc1John Davis wanted rock ‘n’ roll, but he didn’t want to deal with the hassle. The Superdrag frontman broke up his band in 2003, got religion and issued a pair of solo albums, putting a seemingly tight lid on the legacy of his Knoxville, Tenn., outfit. Apparently, Davis is willing to be bothered again: Superdrag’s original lineup reconvened to record Industry Giants, a new album due March 17. This week, MAGNET celebrates the return of Superdrag by handing Davis the reins to our website, where he’ll share his favorite music, films, food, literature and more. Read our Q&A with Davis about the comeback here.

charlesmingus350e

Davis: Charles Mingus sings(!) and plays piano in his own inimitable style on this fiery gospel- and blues-fueled set from 1961. Doug Watkins ably handles the daunting task of playing bass on a Mingus recording. Mingus was well-known to boast about his ability on piano (where he did most of his composing), and in this particular case, he famously offered critics of his singing a punch in the mouth. Here’s how he responded to Harvey Pekar’s less than sympathetic review in Down Beat: “My efforts at blues singing were not meant to challenge such diverse masters as Joe Turner, Ray Charles or Big Bill Broonzy, and I don’t think their singing was meant as a challenge to each other or to me. No one could sing my blues but me (if you must call it singing), just as no one could holler for you if I decide to punch you in your mouth.”

Eight Days A Week: Morphine

Of all the evergreen subjects covered by rock ‘n’ roll (girls, street fightin’, cruisin’, California, love, god), the days of the week hold their own in terms of the sheer number of good songs meant to fete the seven that exist. (Plus the weekend, of course: whether we’re livin’ for it, workin’ for it or taking a Tuesday point of view of it.) MAGNET’s Corey duBrowa presents the best songs written about each day of the week.

:: THURSDAY: Morphine’s “Thursday” (1993)
morphines360d“We used to meet every Thursday, Thursday, Thursday in the afternoon/For a couple of beers and a game of pool/We used to go to a motel, motel, motel across the street/And the name of the motel was the Wagon Wheel.” This driving, bluesy, “tales-from-the-down-low” of a guy, his secret lover and a jealous husband is the ultimate tribute to the late, irreplaceable Mark Sandman and his jazz-meets-blues-meets-scuzz-rock trio, Morphine. “Thursday” sets the tone for that desperate need to just make it through another week with heart, soul (and pulse) intact.

“Thursday”:

From The Desk Of Superdrag’s John Davis: Indian Cuisine

johndavisc1John Davis wanted rock ‘n’ roll, but he didn’t want to deal with the hassle. The Superdrag frontman broke up his band in 2003, got religion and issued a pair of solo albums, putting a seemingly tight lid on the legacy of his Knoxville, Tenn., outfit. Apparently, Davis is willing to be bothered again: Superdrag’s original lineup reconvened to record Industry Giants, a new album due March 17.

This week, MAGNET celebrates the return of Superdrag by handing Davis the reins to our website, where he’ll share his favorite music, films, food, literature and more. Read our Q&A with Davis about the comeback here.

indian344Davis: Indian food is hands-down my favorite way to go when it comes to dining out. (I’m responsible for all the random pictures of Indian dishes and cups of tea among the Superdrag tour photos.) We hit up some serious Indian places on our West Coast tour last year. By the way, a big shout-out to my friends at Sitar Indian Cuisine in Nashville. The combinations of flavors and spices in Indian dishes have been thoughtfully engineered over centuries to produce a feeling of well-being and overall good health. Chili, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, coriander and cumin are all ancient Ayurvedic ingredients. So that amazing “food buzz” you get from your panir masala or mushroom matar is by no means a coincidence—it’s scientific!

Classic I.R.S. Records Titles From The ’80s To Get Digital Release

lets_active350I.R.S. Records, the legendary label that was home to R.E.M., Squeeze, the Buzzcocks, Camper Van Beethoven, Let’s Active (pictured) and the Go-Go’s, is finally getting its day in the digital sun. Starting February 10, Capitol/EMI will begin releasing the digital debuts of more than 100 tracks and albums that have previously been out-of-print or gathering dust in record, cassette and CD collections throughout the analog world. The six-week campaign will pretty much run the gamut of I.R.S.’s 17 years—including seminal albums by the Three O’Clock, the dB’s and Concrete Blonde—and includes new Best Of The I.R.S. Years collections for the dB’s, Dread Zeppelin, dada and Over The Rhine. Full details after the jump.

The Three O’Clock’s “Her Head’s Revolving” from 1985’s Arrive Without Travelling:
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/HerHeadsRevolving.mp3

Continue reading “Classic I.R.S. Records Titles From The ’80s To Get Digital Release”