A blog devoted to the works of Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, The Gothic Archies, et al. This blog will feature news related to his work, as well as occasional fanboy gushes from the author. Thank you for stopping by, and may all your dreams come true.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

SM at MCA

Some glorious Youtuber has taken the liberty of uploading Mr. Merritt's recent appearance at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. The event was hosted by Mr. Marc Hogan, co-presented by Pitchfork's In Sight Out. Strangely, only the first and last bits of the interview are up, but I suppose that'll do.

I was at this event and can attest that while Mr. Merritt is incredibly chipper and gracious, it seems that Mr. Hogan was incredibly nervous and occasionally fumbles a question. Still, the videos are very much worth watching and I hope the rest are uploaded soon!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

An Apologetic Press Dump

A preview of Julian Fleisher's Naked American Songbook episode featuring an interview with Stephin can be found here. The full interview will likely be released for the premier of the show's new season, which is forthcoming. Readers of this blog might also be familiar with Mr. Fleisher for his performance as The Cat in the original off-Broadway run of Stephin Merritt's Coraline, and its subsequent cast recording.

There are some really excellent videos that have been posted recently. One is this one with Vice. While arguably shorter than it ought to be, it does feature some very interesting tidbits, most notably a preview of the Post-It Note system that guided 50 Song Memoir.  Another video, found here features Stephin giving a tour of his absolutely amazing-looking house. Oh, what a dream it'd be to peruse that science fiction hall! And, finally, be sure to check out the extended version of this BBC interview with Mr. Merritt and Jose Zayas, director of the two-night 50 Song Memoir extravaganza.

Continuing in his warpath against the word "favorite," Mr. Merritt lists 13 albums he likes very much here. The author would like to heartily recommend that Ella Lanchester record for those looking for good music to have on whilst writing.

Stephin created this pretty wonderful set list for BBC's Late Junction Mixtape. It's predominantly made up of unconventional covers and features the likes of Klaus Nomi, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and The Silicon Teens. It comes HIGHLY recommended!

Due to the album, he's also done an abundance of press in the past months. While I've, of course, read all of it, I'll spare you the gratuitous over-linking and just share the best ones. This one with NPR features some wonderful acoustic performances of songs from the new album. This one is in Spanish and features the umpteenth retelling of the Spice Girls story. This one presents some further contextualizing of some of the songs from the new album.

I quite like this interview with The LA Review of Books, wherein Mr. Merritt discusses the influence of poetry and literature on his work. Particularly, he expounds on his love for science fiction in a way I've not seen him do previously. By far the best fucking interview from this round of press (and possibly the best I've read with Mr. Merritt in about a decade, the Daniel Handler ones notwithstanding), is this one with Franklin Bruno. Mr. Bruno, he of Nothing Painted Blue and Extra Lens fame, really understands Mr. Merritt's work and presses him on subjects I wish more journalists would approach him on. Specifically, they discuss form and structure and process, and it's great to see Mr. Merritt be so casually open about these things. If you only click one link from this blog post, click that one.

Friday, April 21, 2017

After all this time,


I am alive after all!

I've just returned from seeing The Magnetic Fields perform 50 Song Memoir at Thalia Hall in Chicago. As you may expect, I had a rollicking good time. I had the pleasure as well of seeing one of the premier performances in NYC last December.  The band sounds amazing in its current iteration and it's such a joy to see these songs performed. The more formal presentation of the material is definitely beneficial as well, and I applaud director Jose Zayas! 

I hope that you lot have been enjoying the album as much as I have. I am consistently overwhelmed at what a remarkable achievement it is, and I've been pleased that the general public has received it well too!

My enthusiasm for this music has hardly quelled (in fact, I am convinced the new album is amongst Mr. Merritt's best work and I can't stop listening to it), but life has gotten in the way of updating the blog regularly. Truthfully, I regret that I've been inactive during this storm of media appearances and other interesting news. I've been consuming voraciously and not sharing and that goes against my original mission. But, anyhow!

I don't think it's wise for me to attempt to ameliorate my absence by dumping a bunch of things here. I'm mostly just coming out of my proverbial retirement to let y'all know that I've updated the discography to include 50 Song Memoir and a couple of other small things as well. At the very least, I reckon it'll be nice to maintain a comprehensive discography of Mr. Merritt's work! 

I reckon not many people will see this. After all, how many people regularly check a dead blog? But, if you have for some reason found yourself here, then please feel free to harangue me in the comments about not having updated for so long. I invite you all to dance 'round my auto-da-fe.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Song Poems

Mysteriously, two videos have appeared online of Stephin Merritt, Mr. Sam Davol and a very attractive dog performing musicalized versions of poems from Stephin Merritt's 101 Two-Letter Words. They are for La and Lo. Excuse the tiny links.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Jon DeRosa's Black Halo

Two updates in two days! What is this, 2010??

Anyhow, feel free to stream the new Jon DeRosa album here. Jon DeRosa is a popular New York singer in his own right, well-known for his contributions to the bands Flare and Aarktica. He's perhaps best known to readers of this blog, however, for playing the character Hou Fang You on the recorded version of Mr. Merritt's musical Peach Blossom Fan (excerpts of which can be heard on the 2006 release Showtunes). Mr. DeRosa's new album, Black Halo, features a song co-written with Mr. Merritt entitled "When Daddy Took the Treehouse Down. If you want to purchase it, which I encourage you to do, you may do so here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Horoscopes, Saving My Tomorrow

Returning to his Madame Cheva roots, Stephin Merritt has written your horoscope for June here. The article is for the publication Radio Silence and is accompanied by the wonderful illustration to the left by Scott Sosebee.

Pitchfork reports here that Mr. Merritt will be appearing in episode four of the HBO nature documentary Saving My Tomorrow. Whether this means he is an interview subject, performer, or if his song A Million Trillion Bugs appears in the episode remains to be seen, although I'm sure you'll find out here once the episode airs.

Don't forget about the scant few dates left in Mr. Merritt's solo tour!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Videos, a short review

A few days ago, I got to see Mr. Merritt on his current solo tour. As expected, the show was really magnificent. While it's being billed as a solo tour, Mr. Merritt was accompanied by longtime Magnetic Fields cellist Sam Davol. The sparse arrangements this lineup led to were a thrill to see, with the songs sounding much different than I've ever heard them, including in other live iterations. Particular highlights were "Andrew in Drag," which sounded more heartbreaking than ever before and "The Dead Only Quickly," the string arrangement of which hasn't escaped my head since the show. While the bulk of the tour is over, Mr. Merritt does have some more events coming up this year on the east coast, and I highly suggest you go if it's at all feasible for you to do so. You will not be disappointed.

In the meantime, though, here are some videos from the current tour: