Meltdown Festival: John Maus Delivers The Most Intense Solo Performance You Will Ever Witness

John Maus kicked off the 2019 leg of his tour in support of last year’s Addendum the end of January, and he hit Philadelphia’s Union Transfer last week. He also hit himself. And the air. And screamed and contorted his body and jumped up and down—all while dressed like a soccer dad after a week-long bender. Maus’ onstage delivery is somewhere between performance art, a nervous breakdown and karaoke, and the philosophizing synth whiz leaves it all on the stage, where he performs solo with his prerecorded music. British cult eccentric Nick Nicely opened the show, his face obscured by some sort of white scarf. For the first time in his life, MAGNET photographer Chris Sikich was the most normal guy in the room.

Nick Nicely

4AD Released “Dark Was The Night” 10 Years Ago Today

10 years ago today, 4AD released Dark Was The Night, a Red Hot Organization compilation curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National to raise AIDS awareness and featuring Spoon, Bon Iver, the Decemberists, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Yo La Tengo, Cat Power, New Pornographers, Iron & Wine and more. Read our review of its 2016 follow-up of sorts:

Normal History Vol. 517: The Art Of David Lester

Every 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 35-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

“The activity of not attempting to get somewhere in terms of what already exists presents an opportunity to make things up as we go along. It was a thrill to get a playlist in the mail from Moscow, Idaho—a place we’d never even heard of—and a strange sensation to get a letter from a guy in Arkansas who’d been beaten up for wearing one of our weirdo T-shirts. We went on tour because it was a scary adventure, not to sell records.” —Jean Smith, “Surviving The Underground,” Monitor Mix, NPR, 2009

“In January” from The Family Swan (Kill Rock Stars, 2002) (download):