Hold Steady Gig To Benefit Baseball-Related Charity

holdsteadyh520bIn a match made in beer-drinking heaven, heavy imbibers and baseball aficionados the Hold Steady will play for more than a few like-minded Chicago Cubs fans at the third annual Len & Bob Bash on January 15 at Chicago’s House of Blues. Named for Cubs TV broadcasters Len Kasper and Bob Brenly, the event has raised more than $70,000 for Chicago Cubs Charities. Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman opens this year’s concert; previous editions featured Ryan Adams And The Cardinals, Son Volt, the Redwalls and the Felice Brothers.

“While the members of the Hold Steady each have their own favorite MLB teams, we are mostly fans of the game of baseball,” said frontman Craig Finn. “Thus, we are excited to have an opportunity to play this event for Chicago Cubs Charities and have another reason to think baseball during the cold and grey off-season.”

“The Hold Steady’s live show reaches out directly to the Wrigley Field bleacher crowd,” said Kasper, a knowledgeable music geek who’s probably the only MLB voice who knows the Hold Steady isn’t some obscure sabermetric statistic. “To have one of the hottest bands going today and one of rock’s greatest guitarists in Tom Morello on the same bill to raise money is awesome. I know Craig Finn is a big Twins fan, and Tom loves the Cubs, so we’re hoping it’s a big, baseball-meets-rock-‘n’-roll group hug.”

Tickets are available at www.hob.com. More tour dates after the jump. To read the in-depth feature we did with the Hold Steady around the release of 2006’s Boys And Girls In America, click here.

The Hold Steady doing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”:

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15 In Philly: Psychedelphia

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.


The Psychedelphia era lasted roughly from 1995—when the Azusa Plane and the Asteroid #4 (pictured) began issuing seven-inch singles and Bardo Pond released its first album—to 2001, the year the Strokes played a Philly residency that effectively marked the ascendancy of the New York-centered post-punk era.

1999’s Sounds From Psychedelphia, issued on Asteroid #4’s Lounge label, is the definitive document of the scene. The compilation includes tracks from the Photon Band, A#4, Lenola and other bands influenced, in varying proportions, by Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, 13th Floor Elevators and other Nuggets, as well as shoegazers My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. In 1998, MAGNET’s fifth-anniversary concert reflected the local movement, featuring a lineup of A#4, the Azusa Plane, Bardo Pond, Lenola and psych-folk godfather Tom Rapp.

The Asteroid #4’s “Tricks Of The Trade” from Sounds From Psychedelphia:

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Philip Glass, Patti Smith, The National, Vampire Weekend Headline Tibet House Benefit

pattismith350Philip Glass, a composer known for his sometimes hard-to-stomach atonal work, certainly has an ear to the ground in his artistic direction of the 2009 Tibet House Benefit Concert. Now in its 19th year, the event will take place at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on February 3. Aside from Glass, the initial lineup includes Patti Smith (pictured) with daughter Jesse, the National and (sigh) Vampire Weekend, with additional performers to be announced in the coming weeks. Highlights from past Tibet House Benefits include David Bowie, Paul Simon, Sigur Rós, Bright Eyes, R.E.M., Emmylou Harris, Damien Rice and Ray Davies. Tickets are available by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800. A reception with the evening’s honorary chairpersons and artists will follow the performance. Tickets for the reception, which include prime seats for the concert, can be reserved by calling Tibet House at 212-807-0563.

Patti Smith’s “Gloria” performed live in London in 2005:

Nick Cave Curates Awesome Australian All Tomorrow’s Parties

nick08340Yeah, that Flaming Lips-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties in New York in September will be wild and wacky (especially Dirty Three doing all of Ocean Songs). And the Breeders-curated ATP in the U.K. in May sounds intriguing (haven’t seen Throwing Muses live since 1991). But if MAGNET allowed for time off, we’d be on a plane this weekend to Australia for the ATP curated by The Man We Wish We Were: Nick Cave. Aside from Cave’s Bad Seeds, there’s Spiritualized, Robert Forster, Michael Gira, James “Blood” Ulmer, Bill Callahan, Dead Meadow, Silver Apples, Dirty Three (doing all of Ocean Songs; take that, Wayne Coyne), the Saints (doing all of (I’m) Stranded) and many more.

The current issue of MAGNET marks the second time Cave has been on the cover (you can order it here). The first was back in 2001, when writer Jonathan Valania traveled with Cave & The Bad Seeds to Denmark. Read it here.

“More News From Nowhere” from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!:

15 In Philly: Fishtown Folk

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.


Greg Weeks meanders around his kitchen like anyone else working at home; he checks his email while slowly sipping his coffee. But as Weeks descends the basement stairs, all traces of 21st-century life are left behind. His retrofitted recording space in the Tacony section of Philadelphia, Hexham Head studio, boasts an arsenal of decades-old analog equipment. It’s one of several hideouts for Weeks and his band of freak-folk gypsies, Espers (pictured).

“Mansfield And Cyclops” from Espers’ II:

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Wilco Finishes Live DVD, Works On New Album

wilco2007320On account of the mixed reception of Sky Blue Sky, Wilco had a much better ’08 than ’07. With a five-night, catalog-comprehensive homestay at Chicago’s Rivera Theatre, a summer tour across uncharted U.S. territories (Alaska, Wyoming, um, Delaware) and a fall run with Neil Young that culminated with two nights at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Wilco proved that there’s still a vibrant band behind Jeff Tweedy‘s hit-or-miss self-indulgent musings. Need more proof? Check out Ashes Of American Flags, the band’s first concert film/DVD, due in February. Produced by Trixie Films (which also did Tweedy’s solo concert film Sunken Treasure) and named after the noteworthy Yankee Hotel Foxtrot deep cut, Ashes Of American Flags includes material from Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, The Ryman in Nashville, among other cities and venues oozing with Americana. Wilco is back to work in its Chicago loft finishing a new studio album expected late spring. No track listing yet, but it’s safe to assume that some of the cuts escaped in summer set lists, most notably “One Wing” from Sunday evening at Lollapalooza. Tour dates after the jump.

“One Wing” live from Lollapalooza:

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Wrens Watch, Jan. 5, 2009

wrenswatch922We’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 Danny DeVito.) Given their propensity for not even updating their website (the most recent entry is promoting a Charles Bissell solo show on December 11), we decided to take matters into our own hands to keep fans up to date with the latest Wrens news. Each week, we’ll check in with Bissell to find out just what exactly the quartet hasn’t been up to.

:: Wrens Watch, Jan. 5, 2009
MAGNET: Hello, Charles?
Mr. Bissell (Charles’ dad): No, this is Chuck’s old man.
Oh, hey, Mr. Bissell. We met at Wrens show in Philly once. Been friends with Charles for a long time now.
Charles doesn’t have friends. He’s fat and he’s stupid.
Uh, excuse me?
That’s from Throw Momma From The Train. Funny fucking movie. That Danny DeVito is from Asbury Park, you know? Funny as fuck on Taxi. You never saw DeVito in Throw Momma From The Train? Not artsy fartsy enough for you? What, you like those Jim McGreevey Brokeback Cowboy movies, do you? Fucking figures. That’s the kind of crowd Chuck’s band gets. It’s a fucking shame.
OK then. Well, is Charles around? I have to talk to him for this week’s Wrens Watch.
Is that that gay thing you do on the computer? I saw that one where you were talking shit about Chuck’s kid—my fucking grandson, mind you—on the computer. I should come over there right now and kick your ass for that shit.
Well, no offense, Mr. Bissell, but I can see where Charles gets his mouth from.
Is that so, pussy boy? Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut. Call back here again, and I’ll kick your McGreevey ass. [Hangs up]

Check in next week to see what’s going on in the wild and wacky world of the Wrens.

Clem Snide Lives To See Another Album

clemsnideUnheard from since 2005’s stellar End Of Love, Clem Snide will release Hungry Bird (429 Records) on February 24. Frontman Eef Barzelay and crew recorded Hungry Bird in 2006, but the LP remained in limbo while group members went through a series of personal and professional crises that included parting ways with their longtime manager and booking agent. Oh, and the band also broke up. As there are plans to play shows supporting Hungry Bird in the spring, one can assume they’re back together. Despite Clem Snide’s uncertain post-2005 lifespan, Barzelay has kept busy with solo albums (2006’s Bitter Honey and last year’s Lose Big) in addition to scoring the 2007 film Rocket Science.

Fun fact: Barzelay was the cover model for MAGNET’s power-pop issue, which you can buy here.

“Hum” from Hungry Bird:

Power-Pop Legend Tommy Keene Readies New LP

Since the release of 1982 debut Strange Allianc, Tommy Keene‘s brand of power pop has earned him the respect of Paul Westerberg, Jeff Tweedy, Peter Buck, Robert PollardT-Bone Burnettthe Gin Blossoms and the Goo Goo Dolls. Keene is the man partially responsible for what’s quite possibly the best post-Guided By Voices record that Pollard has issued (2006’s Blues And Boogie Shoes, a Pollard/Keene collaboration credited to the Keene Brothers). He’s also as nice a guy as you will ever meet, so we’re happy to report that Keene will release his eighth solo album on February 17. The 11-track In The Late Bright was recorded at Keene’s home studio this year with some help from R. Walt Vincent (Pete Yorn, James Blunt) and will be released by the Second Motion label.

One of Late Bright’s highlights is “Elevated,” a druggy instrumental departure from the melodic guitar pop Keene is known for (though the record contains plenty of that stuff). “I want to do a whole album like that, sort of getting away from the power-pop framework that I’ve always done, and just try to deviate a bit,” says Keene. “Then again, if I can’t sell a record with vocals and guitars, how could I sell a record of just mucking about experimentally? I’ll leave that for Thurston Moore.”

Keene plans to play some shows in the spring in support of Late Bright and may also release a two-CD best-of, though that latter prospect is merely a thought at the moment.

Listening to Late Bright got us thinking of the last time we profiled Keene. It ended up being a milestone interview for him, marking the first time he spoke to the media about being gay; you can check it out here.

“Elevated” from Late Bright: