Van Morrison To Issue Live “Astral Weeks”

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Famed blue-eyed soul singer Van Morrison‘s first-ever live performance of career-defining 1968 album Astral Weeks gets a February 10 release on his EMI-distributed Listen To The Lion label. The Northern Ireland-born R&B belter played the jazz- and blues-tinged milestone twice with a band that included a full string section last November at the Hollywood Bowl. Spotlighting swirling Morrison gems such as the title song and the gender-bending “Madame George,” Astral Weeks was Morrison’s first solo release for Warner Bros. after his Belfast-based beat combo Them topped the U.S. charts with British Invasion stalwarts “Gloria,” “Here Comes The Night” and “Mystic Eyes.” Morrison repeated his early chart success with his 1967 debut solo single “Brown-Eyed Girl” and a follow-up longplayer, Blowin’ Your Mind!, that featured such tortured classics as “Who Drove The Red Sports Car” and fabled nine-minute opus “T.B. Sheets.” Morrison will perform Astral Weeks as well as some of his other songs February 27 and 28 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“Astral Weeks” from 1968’s Astral Weeks:

Bring On The Major Leagues: The Fantasy Doctor Is In

steve-pic350Steve Alexander has a pretty sweet gig as senior editor of fantasy NBA basketball (and PGA golf) for Rotoworld.com. Getting paid to watch hoops and write about it? Sign us up. But other than the fact that there are a couple of fantasy geeks in the MAGNET office—in addition to the real-life geeks—why do we care about Alexander? Well, he’s in leagues with indie-rock stalwarts such as Stephen Malkmus and Built To Spill’s Doug Martsch, among others. So we contacted the genial Dr. A for the scoop on the rockers’ fantasy acumens, as well as tips for the three MAGNET readers who play fantasy basketball.

Band Of Horses’ “Detlef Schrempf” from 2007’s Cease To Begin:

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From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: Antoni Gaudí

carlnewmanpresscrop41“There are maybe 10 or 12 things I could teach you,” sings Carl “A.C.” Newman on his new solo album, Get Guilty (Matador). “After that, well, you’re on your own.” This week, MAGNET lets the New Pornographers frontman steer our website toward 10 or 12 of his own favorite things in music, film, literature and life.

Read our verdict on the orchestral-pop case of Get Guilty and a Q&A deposition with Newman here.

gaudi23Newman: I was obsessed with Barcelona for years. I was amazed at how beautiful the city was. I couldn’t believe someone with such a strange, surreal, Dr. Seuss-like aesthetic was allowed to build all these landmarks in Barcelona and basically change the face of the city. The architect Antoni Gaudí built Park Güell, which is this psychedelic park in the middle of Barcelona, and the Sagrada Familia. When I went to Barcelona with my wife, [Gaudí] was the main draw. Half the time we were there, we were just looking for Gaudí architecture. If you look around America, there are many beautiful things, but so much of it is artless. At some point in time, Barcelona was saying, “Gaudí, build us a psychedelic cathedral.” I wish more cities were like that. I can’t think of anybody else who has left such an obvious imprint on a city.

A nice Gaudí blog/photo tour of Barcelona here.

15 In Philly: Lifetime / Paint It Black / Kid Dynamite

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.

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For a city so fertile with negative vibes, feelings of inferiority, raw anger and working-class toughness, Philadelphia has proven incapable of home-growing a decent, sustainable hardcore band. Even our old-school punk history pretty much started and ended with the lightweight, goofily smart-ass Dead Milkmen. Laying claim to the lineage of Lifetime—the New Brunswick, N.J., hardcore band that started in 1990 and spawned Philly-based outfits Kid Dynamite and Paint It Black (pictured)—is a necessary act of eminent domain.

Lifetime, “Young, Loud And Scotty” from 1997’s Jersey’s Best Dancers:

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From The Desk Of A.C. Newman: Gordon Lightfoot

carlnewmanpresscrop41“There are maybe 10 or 12 things I could teach you,” sings Carl “A.C.” Newman on his new solo album, Get Guilty (Matador). “After that, well, you’re on your own.” This week, MAGNET lets the New Pornographers frontman steer our website toward 10 or 12 of his own favorite things in music, film, literature and life.

Read our verdict on the orchestral-pop case of Get Guilty and a Q&A deposition with Newman here.

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Newman: I went on iTunes and started downloading songs by Gordon Lightfoot. I couldn’t remember how they went, but I knew that I liked them. He had an album called Endless Wire in the ’70s, and a song on that record called “Daylight Katy” is, I think, the greatest thing he’s ever done. He was one of Dylan’s favorite songwriters, which is pretty high praise. He’s Canadian; I have to throw in some Canadian content. There’s a very proud tradition of Canadian songwriters. If you throw in Gordon Lightfoot with Joni Mitchell and Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, that’s a pretty powerful collection.

For a bizarre video montage of dolphins and Katie Holmes set to Gordon Lightfoot’s “Daylight Katy,” click here. SFW. Maybe not safe for Katie Holmes.