MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Cheer-Accident’s “Done”

If you want to impress your friends by saying you got in on the ground floor with Cheer-Accident via the band’s stellar new album, well, you’re only about 37 years too late. Yes, this virtually uncategorizable Chicago ensemble formed around the time the members of Animal Collective were still learning how to form full sentences about panda bears and strawberry jam. Impressively named multi-instrumentalist Thymme Jones has been Cheer-Accident’s mainstay since day one, with a revolving cast of numerous members and guests in and out over the years, though the band has had a solid core lineup for a while now.

On May 25, Skin Graft will issue Fades, which, by our guess, is Cheer-Accident’s 19th album. (This would put Jones and Co. one behind Guided By Voices in the LP department; what’s with the Midwest and hyper productivity?) Like the band’s previous albums, Fades is a dizzying and evolving array of disparate styles—psych, prog, pop, punk, post-punk (and those are just the “p”s)—that Cheer-Accident somehow continually manages to cohere into a sound that’s unmistakably its own.

The 10-track Fades kicks off with “Done,” a mini motorik masterpiece that your Stereolab-loving older sister will be singing along with at the gym. Jones calls “Done” the “most kraut-poppy song on the record. It’s great to jog in place to—or jazzercise. And the dual trombone/mouthbone solo equals the dorkiest moment on the album.”

We music dorks couldn’t agree more, so we’re proud to premiere “Done” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, and catch Cheer-Accident on tour (dates below).

5/21 – Midland, TX, The Scorpions Nest
5/22 – Albuqurque, NM, TBA
5/23 – Tucson, AR, TBA
5/24 – Los Angeles, Hi Hat
5/25 – Sacramento, CA, Blue Lamp
5/26 – San Francisco, Cafe Du Nord
5/27 – Santa Cruz, CA, Crepe Place
5/31 – Petrolia, CA, Mattole Valley Community Center
6/1 – Portland, Mississippi Studios
6/2 – Seattle, Columbia City Theater (Seaprog Festival)
6/4 – Salt Lake City, Metro
6/5 – Denver, Larimer
6/6 – Kansas City, MO. Record Bar
6/7 – Minneapolis, 7th Street Entry
6/8 – Madison, WI. The Frequency
6/9 – Chicago, Beat Kitchen

Totally Mild: Sense Of A Woman

Melbourne’s Totally Mild comes of age with Her

Her is an album about being a woman—knowing women intimately, relating to them, dating them and feeling isolated from them,” says Elizabeth Mitchell, lead singer, songwriter and bandleader of Melbourne’s Totally Mild. “Many women feature in the songs on Her: me, my mother, my wife, exes and friends. It’s about how being socialized as a woman can teach you to doubt yourself, to take on certain specific roles, and how hard it is for me to leave those learned behaviors behind. My wife says it’s a coming-of-age album, wrestling with the idea that I actually have to be an adult at some point.”

For Her (Chapter Music), Mitchell and band—guitarist Zachary Schneider, bassist Lehmann Smith and drummer Ashley Bundang—set out to make elaborate pop music, utilizing everything producer James Cecil (Architecture In Helsinki) had in the studio. (Bundang has since been replaced by Dylan Young.)

“We played with lots of new sounds from synthesizers and other instruments we didn’t use on the first album,” says Mitchell. “We spent three days altogether doing the basic tracking live, and six months of adding to that. A large chunk of making the record was Zach, James and me spending hours in the studio trying things out and throwing them away.”

The songs on the quartet’s sophomore album explore unruly emotions with Mitchell’s ardent vocals supported by the band’s nuanced work. “Pearl” describes the subtle passion of true love with shimmering chords, glistening slide-guitar textures and a steady backbeat, while “Today Tonight” rides a subtle reggae-like pulse to express the longing for a lover who will never return.

“The songs are autobiographical, but not all of them are sad,” says Mitchell. “I just have a way of making things that are happy sound sad. Maybe it’s that duality of being objectively happy and chronically depressed.”

—j. poet

UNDER THE INFLUENCE WITH ELIZABETH MITCHELL

Aldous Harding
“I am completely obsessed with Party, the record she put out last year. It’s such a strange and emotionally impactful album. I saw her play at Meredith Music Festival in December. What a force!”

Walking Around
“My car exploded. I drove it from Melbourne to Queensland, and it gave up. That’s influencing my experience of the Melbourne summer. It’s really hot, and I have to walk everywhere. It’s nice to listen to more music on my headphones, I guess.”

Hexdebt
“They’re a very good punk band from Melbourne. Look them up. They’re young, angry and very powerful.”

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of US, Today’s “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit)”

Did you ever wonder what would happen if Us Weekly and USA Today merged? Well, the result would decidedly not be Us, Today, an experimental-leaning instrumental trio from Cincinnati. Vibraphonist Kristen Agee, guitarist Joel Griggs and drummer Jeff Mellot formed eight years after meeting at a coffee shop (how totally 2010) and immediately went to work, releasing three albums: 2011’s RH Sessions, 2012’s Beneath The Floorboards and 2015’s Tenenemies. The LPs were the result of weekly improvisational jam sessions that the band then used as the basis for completed songs.

On new album Computant (out June 15), Us, Today pushes things ever further, adding synths and electronic-drum elements to its sophisticated sonic stew. Perhaps most impressive is that the trio recorded the entire record over the course of one weekend, with most of the tracks only needing three or four takes. New single “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit),” however, “we did it in one take,” says Agee. “After we did one pass of this song, we all agreed that it was exactly what we wanted—no need to do another pass. The song was done. That is a huge win in my book.”

“‘Spellcaster’ is very different from a lot of other tunes on the album,” says Mellot. “It seems to be more straightforward from a time-signature standpoint, and it relies on relentless energy from the band. This was a tune we felt we needed our attention in the studio. One of our crowning achievements is only doing one take.”

“The middle section was designed to kind of act like being in space after taking off in the first section,” says Griggs. “The guitar and vibes drift lightly before descending into full, rock-out cacophony assault on the senses. We wanted to come back down to drone to end the song like an airplane landing.”

Mission accomplished, Queen City cosmonauts.

We’re proud to premiere “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit)” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, and let these spirit doctors cast their spell on you.

Essential New Music: Lucy Dacus’ “Historian”

“I’m afraid of pain, both yours and mine,” sings Lucy Dacus plaintively on the cold open to “Yours And Mine,” which forms the emotional core of her raw and bracing sophomore LP. Historian finds Dacus crafting a narrative from the emotional detritus of the past year, fashioning firmness from fragility even with the headwinds of chaos ahead. By the time she gets to the end of “Yours And Mine” (“We’ve got a long way to go before we get home, ‘cuz this ain’t my home anymore”), you get a sense of strength in the face of loss, with Dacus’ voice crackling and bright (much like her fellow Southerners Cat Power and Jolie Holland) as she links tale after tale of devotion and doubt together to form the sad-eyed tale of America, circa now.

“Timefighter” is blues updated for a new generation (like Jon Spencer but without the self-conscious irony), and “Night Shift” is straight-up millennial breakup music; “Pillar Of Truth” and the album’s title track form a back-to-back reminder that sometimes it takes total darkness before we can truly see the light. Dacus—whose 2016 No Burden debut was MAGNET’s album of the year—goes from strength to strength here, and Historian is another triumph.

—Corey duBrowa