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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Terror

Well, there's this frustratingly vague bit of information.  Apparently, Mr. Merritt will be performing at some blogger's place of work, but there is no information as to where he works!  Presumably it is in San Francisco as the event will purportedly be taking place on the same day The Magnetic Fields will be playing at the Herbst Theater, but I will update if I find any further news.

I found out this morning that Ms. Claudia Gonson will be a Keynote speaker at this year's Noise Pop Festival.  How this bit of information eluded me before now is a mystery, but there it is. 

But, most excitingly, is this fucking recording of one of the Three Terrors shows!!  For those unaware, The Three Terrors were a brief, live-only project of Mr. Merritt's wherein he did one-off theme-oriented shows (this one in particular is full of songs about drugs) with 69 Love Songs vocalists extraordinaire Mr. L.D. Beghtol and Mr. Dudley Klute.  I have for years wanted to hear these recordings and have frequent AS-commenter and all-around nice fella Mr. Nick David to thank for finally pointing me in the right direction.  In particular I love the Loretta Lynn song, where Mr. Klute sounds absolutely beautiful and "Tiny Bubbles," which is just out-and-out awesome.  But, of course, the highlight is the rollicking "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."  And, yes, it's sung all the way through.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stuff

It felt slightly awkward to not update this blog for two whole days; but, it is good practice for a few months from now when the SM-related hoopla is dying down and updates will become less frequent.  So, whatever.

In the meantime, Seattle Weekly posted this glowing review of The Magnetic Fields' Town Hall show, from whence the picture featured here is taken.  More awesome photos from the event can be found here, from The Stranger.

Also, I just found this Tumblr called Fuck Yeah Stephin Merritt (a title I think could only be made better by punctuation, a la "Fuck Yeah, Stephin Merritt!").  It's pretty innocuous at this point, but that's not antonymous with fun.  Particularly dour fun can be found in the apparent AIM chat between "Sober" and "Shitfaced," two aptly-named characters of the author's invention.

And, did you guys see Andres Jauregui's post about Get Lost over at Crawdaddy! Magazine?  I kind of disagree with his thesis about the album being pre-"chillwave," but those middle paragraphs are inarguably good.

Lastly, if you search "Magnetic Fields 2010" on Youtube, you'll find a handful of awesome-looking videos from this year's shows that I, sadly, cannot watch for another week.  Videos, I say, like this one:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Q

CBC's Q has posted a lovely interview with Mr. Merritt available for download here.  It doesn't start until about 18 minutes in, but it is a pretty great interview, and features Mr. Merritt recounting his old John Lennon story, doing his Leonard Cohen impression, and harping on about k.d. lang.  Unfortunately, due to copyright issues, CBC couldn't play any of Mr. Merritt's performances (he played "Seduced and Abandoned" and "The Nun's Litany," making those unaware probably think him transgendered or something), but the interview is still well worth checking out.

Seattlest has this interview with Mr. Merritt as well which may pale in comparison, but still feels like a worthy read.  The most interesting part is when he discusses the tonality of Eban and Charley.  The Stranger posted this very long, very interesting interview as well.  In it, Mr. Merritt write perhaps my new favorite song, entitled "Here I Am Sitting in a Gay Bar."

And, this dude has nothing but scathing things to say about The Fields' live show, much to my chagrin and bewilderment.  But, to each their own, I suppose.

Now, if you excuse me, I'm off to listen to The Zinnias.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Zinnias

So holy shit.

Mr(s). smokeandmirrors has done me and the rest of the world a huge favor by uploading the two records by The Zinnas!!  For those unaware, The Zinnias were Mr. Merritt's pre-Magnetic Fields band in which he was joined by Ms. Gonson, as well as a gentleman named Charlie Anflick on vocals, Johny Blood on tuba and John Gage on bass, the latter occasionally sharing songwriting duties with Mr. Merritt along with either member or friend of the band GenĂ©ve Gil.  Before tonight, this was about all the information I had about the band, but smokeandmirrors has done me a world of good by healing my ignorance!

The albums are called Sand Dollar and Compost.  They are, to be blunt, incredible to listen to and it's unbelievable that these recordings even exist, particularly in digital form.  To quote Ms. Gonson, the songs are all "under two minutes and, of course, extremely brilliant."  I feel eternally indebted to smokeandmirrors, and would like to extend the humblest thank you.  It is fascinating to hear these early recordings of "Kings" and "Otters" (later expanded into "Jeremy").

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Boots

Somebody has been awesome enough to post two old bootleg videos of The Magnetic Fields playing in 1996.  They are, of course, too lovely for words.  For fans like me who got into the band post-69LS, this will no-doubt be a revelation.  Certainly their current live instrumentation is more akin to the band's sound as a whole, but these videos (and, ahem, certain recordings I've mustered up over the years) are just fascinating to watch.  It's also worth noting that these videos were made in the brief period of time in the 90's when Claudia Gonson has left the band and was replaced with a drum machine charmingly dubbed "Claudiatron."

Thanks very much to Mr. Jesus Lapiedra for sending these my way and for being a nice, modern gentleman all around.

Firstly, "Why I Cry:"


And, "Summer Lies:"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Upcoming

If you look over there to the right, you'll see an intrusive-looking upcoming events thingy I made this morning.  In the future, I hope for it to just be a way to keep tabs on CD releases, SM-related appearances, and things of a similar ilk.  If I've missed anything or if you think it's a dumb idea, let me know.  I cherish your thoughts, sirs and madams.

Rolling Stone posted this review of Realism, straight with a video of a skinny white male expounding upon what he likes about the record.  Portland Mercury posted this interview with Mr. Merritt, and the San Francisco Gate posted this one.

And because I know you're super interested, I bought Coraline on iTunes (and on CD, but I'm impatient) and it's too marvelous for words.  "The Ballad of the Wasps" makes me cry and is a perfect summation of the play's theme, and I love it.  David Greenspan blows my fucking mind on "Falling, Falling," likewise with Julian Fleisher on "When You're A Cat."  Despite the untraditional instrumentation, I feel like Mr. Merritt is putting his theatrical ability to its best use here; his songwriting is, as ever, completely masterful and these songs translate the tale to which they relate so effortlessly...  This album was completely worth the sometimes-painstaking wait for it, and if you don't buy it, you're likely a fool!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Coraline


Apparently, unbeknownst to me and perhaps most of the general public, the Coraline cast recording has been released to the general public and is no longer a tour-specific good.  Buy it here, $14.99 for the CD or $9.99 for the iTunes digital release.

It is disconcerting and worrisome that so little information about this has been released.  It would be nice for it to sell well, but according to Neil Gaiman, the CD run is limited; perhaps this is the reason for its lack of press.  Either way, we few can rejoice and buy the fuck out of it.

Wolk

Douglas Wolk, longtime supporter of Merritt's work and fantastic journalist all-around, posted this little blurb about The Magnetic Fields' show at BAM.  As a fan of Mr. Wolk, I think the blurb could be a little bit better, but it's still awesome that he's still talking about the band after all these years.

Then, the interviews!  Or, lord, the interviews!  The interview with CHARTattack is pretty lame and doesn't address any new or unique issues, so it's worth skipping.  Seattle Weekly has posted this short interview.  The best one out of this batch, though, is the one from Willamette Week, where we learn the origin of Mr. Merritt's involvement with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  That's it for today, good readers.  I love you, and I hope all your dreams come true.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Screenings



The screening times for the SXSW premiere of Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields have been announced!  The film will be showing at the Alamo Lamar at 2:40pm on March 18 and at 7:45pm on March 20.  I am going to try very hard to go, but my chances are looking bleak.  If you want to Paypal some $$$ to the_hymen_of_reality at yahoo dot com, though, that would certainly be very cool.  But, of course, I'm kidding.  But, only slightly.

Washington City Paper has posted this really fascinating article dissecting The Magnetic Fields' feminist influence; its focus is on Distortion, but it argues that the band is feminist as a whole.  It is very much a worthwhile read.

The show at BAM got rave reviews!  Stereogum posted this mini-review of the show from whence the above picture was shamelessly stolen.  The NY Press has nothing but nice things to say about the show.  But, by far the best review of the show, and of any show thus far in my opinion, is this one from NPR.  The author is clearly a diehard fan of Mr. Merritt's work and gets across exactly what I felt the first time I saw The Fields perhaps better than I could myself.  I dig it a lot.

The Magnetic Fields' tour and We Are Having a Hootenanny are both on a week-long hiatus.  Things will pick back up on February 21 in good ol' Portland, OR.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Amoeba

For those of you in the San Francisco area, Mr. Merritt will be making an appearance at Amoeba Music this February 28 at 2:00.  He will be DJ-ing and signing copies of Realism, and a quick forewarning to those going: I hate you all.  Just kidding, of course, I love you all and you're all wonderful people!

Also, have you guys heard these songs?  The guitar solo at the end of "Give Me Back My Dreams" is a bit much, but otherwise, they're very lovely and I feel the need to endorse them.  So, there.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Public

Later on tonight, audio from NPR's interview with Mr. Merritt will be available at this very link.  Aside from being interviewed, Mr. Merritt plays "Seduced and Abandoned" solo on ukulele, which sounds quite enticing to say the least. 

Also, there is this review of one of the Boston shows.  And, I'd be remiss not to mention this review as well, which features a tasty bit of banter about Mr. Merritt's admiration (!!) of Okkervil River, this pretty awesome picture, and a remark from Mr. Merritt that is probably directed at people like me.  But, that's cool.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Same

Have you guys seen the Coraline cast albums over at We Are Having a Hootenanny?  They look remarkable!  In celebration, look at this photo of one of the play's dress rehearsals.  How I regret not traveling to see it...

Interview Magazine has posted this interview with Mr. Merritt.  "You can't interview a surrealist" very well might be my favorite thing that Mr. Merritt has ever said using his speaking voice.

Also, according to the official Record Store Day Twitter account, the Peter Gabriel/Stephin Merritt single will be released as a 7" single this April 17.  This is, however, the only confirmation of this news I've seen. I will report back when I hear more.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gay

The very fabulous TheNewGay.net has posted part one of a three part interview with Mr. Merritt.  It's a very fun interview; I particularly enjoy watching the interviewer (Mr. Zack Rosen) beam with delight and excitement.  And, of course, Mr. Merritt's bewilderment over strange noises (much like "forest sounds," for those of you who do get that obscure reference).  Follow these links for part two and part three (thanks to Keith for correcting my idiocy in regards to these two links).

And, on reflection, this very well may be the single best interview with Mr. Merritt I've ever seen or read, no hyperbole involved.  Mr. Rosen, despite his apparent nervousness, asks consistently engaging questions and gets Mr. Merritt talking about political and social issues in a way I've never heard before.  Kudos to him.

Watch part one below:



It's also worth noting that The New Gay has previously interviewed Ms. Claudia Gonson.

Repetition

This article from Mountain Xpress dissects an upcoming even in Asheville, NC featuring local musicians covering all of 69 Love Songs in order.  The article also features mini-interviews with some of the participating musicians gushing about how much they love the record, which is a pretty sweet deal.

Here is a review of The Magnetic Fields' show in Toronto the other night, and here is another.  Hopefully the colds in question will heal sooner than later.

Metro International features this very brief interview with Mr. Merritt, in which its author puts words into the mouths of us SM-fans.  I also love how the author saves the obligatory "I hear you suck to interview" style question for the very last one.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Central

The Magnetic Fields played Toronto last night, and according to this review of the show, I am led to believe they played the same set list they played in DC, furthering my belief that they are switching between two lists.  I still really want to see the Montreal set list, if anyone can send a copy my way.

There are also pictures from the show right here, one of which is featured here.

The A.V. Club has posted this interview with Mr. Merritt celebrating Valentine's Day, wherein Mr. Merritt dissects the love song (much like when Mr. Merritt interviewed The Love Song itself).

This place has kind of become interview central these past few days, and for that I apologize.  There's been little else to report, but I implore you not to stop reading; I'm certain goodness is on its way!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two

Some new interviews today.

Firstly, Paste Magazine published this interview with Mr. Merritt, wherein he says that there is no recorded version of "Like a Snowman," the song he wrote for Kiki & Herb.  The problem with that is that he is completely wrong; a recorded version does exist, and it's lovely.  As far as I know, he's right that they never recorded "You Should See it In the Snow," but someone needs to inform Mr. Merritt about the other one ASAP - he deserves to hear his own work, I'd say.  There's also some really fascinating stuff on Mr. Merritt's views on gender roles.  Definitely worth a read.

And, The Varsity has this interview up, which most notably features a catastrophic-looking caricature of Mr. Merritt dressed as a priest.  The interview itself, however, offers a juxtaposition the the sketch in its loveliness.

I received my Realism vinyl today, but no M+E poster.  Has anyone received their posters yet?  Can someone tell me what the fuck is up with the posters at this point?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eyebrows

I caved and looked at the set list I posted the other day and it's beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.

But, apparently, as I had previously been led NOT to believe, they are playing more than one set list.  This review of the Montreal show mentions songs not on the set list posted the other day (thanks to Brian Coffey for this link).  Also, there is a video posted at this link of them playing a song in Montreal that they didn't play in Washington DC.  Don't click either of these links if you have more will power than I and are henceforth NOT going to spoil the set list(s) for yourself.  Although, the link to the video will not start playing the video instantly if you're interested in reading the mini-review that comes with it (I didn't watch the video, anyhow).  If anyone has a partial or complete set list from the Montreal show, we'd probably be best friends forever if you e-mailed it to me.  <3

I suppose if I were a more responsible blogger, I would have posted this review of the DC show the other day, but I didn't, and I apologize.  But, there it is now!  The author has very few bad things to say about the band, but several bad things to say about humidity.

The absolutely amazing photograph above comes from this interview with Mr. Merritt, which is a good read.  He talks a lot abut his disdain for touring, but there is some un-tread territory as well.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hair






The above video is taken from We Are Having a Hootenanny and is awesome.  Everyone should be following that blog, for fuck's sake.

Not much else to say, other than there is this new interview with Mr. Merritt.  Love it, check it out.  For those of you seeing The Fields tonight: enjoy!  I'm sure it'll be a marvelous show.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pictures

This photo is only further proof of the inherent awesomeness promised to be continued by M+E over at We Are Having a Hootenanny.  Go read their latest entry on their Washington DC journey; it's as delightful as it authors, I promise.

Here is the set list for the show last night, which could actually be a bunch of pictures of dead goats for all I know, as I haven't clicked it yet.  I'm waiting for the element of surprise when I see them in March. Let me know if the link works without spoiling everything for me?  That'd be great.

Then there's this interview, which is entirely in Spanish.  As a regrettably monolingual individual, I am unable to read this.  If anyone wants to translate, that'd certainly be a welcome favor, but I doubt anyone really does.

The Montreal Mirror interviewed him as well, and jokingly asserts that "Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree" might be the most personal song on Realism.  I don't know if they see exactly how right they probably are in this regard.

But my favorite of today's interviews comes from The Line of Best Fit.  More than any interview since perhaps the one in the 69 Love Songs booklet, it features Mr. Merritt expounding upon his work process and dissecting exactly what he thinks of his musical style(s).  Kudos to the interview's author, Mr. Sebastian Reynolds.



The above picture was taken at last night's show in Washington DC and is but one of several, the whole gamut of which can be seen at this link.  I, for one, am certainly intrigued by the instrumental changes, and by Mr. Davol's hair.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More

The tour is underway, officially.  For those seeing shows before me (which is just about everyone, as I have another month to wait), let me know exactly what level of greatness they achieve, for sure.  And be sure to keep a keen eye on We Are Having a Hootenanny for assured greatness in pictorial form.

And, Mr. Merritt appears to be exhausting himself doing interviews these days.  Here's a shitload more:

Eye Weekly interviews him, and while I mean no offense, doesn't appear to have done their research very well.  Either that, or they intentionally went in wanting to ask the questions they thought would annoy Mr. Merritt the most.  Still, though, he takes it in stride and it still makes for a decent read.

Mr. Chris Klimek's interview is probably the more informative of the two, though.  I love Mr. Merritt's reaction to the American Idol idea at the end - what fun!

In The Advocate's interview, Mr. Merritt is called indie.  We can all guess where it goes from there.

And, MusicOMH has Mr. Merritt discussing the limited symbolism of his work and his t-shirt theory.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Premiere

The world premiere of Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt & The Magnetic Fields has been announced.  As speculated, it will be at South by Southwest Film Festival this March.  Check this link (and scroll down to "24 Beats Per Second") for confirmation and more information.

In the meantime, check out the official Strange Powers website and donate lots and lots of money to it.

The Magnetic Fields' 2010 tour starts in less than 24 hours.  CRAZINESS.  Can't wait to see all the fun We Are Having a Hootenanny has in store for us.

Interviews

The radio interview to which I linked the other day can be heard here.  The interviewer seems legitimately interested in Mr. Merritt's music, making for a pretty good interview, all-in-all.  In it, Mr. Merritt confirms that both Johnny Blood and Daniel Handler will be performing the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea score with him this May 4th, a particularly cool bit of information.


Some of you may have noticed that the Youtube clip of the trailer for Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields is no longer working.  This is because you now can only watch the trailer at the official Strange Powers website.  So, go there, and donate money to the film's creators to ensure its maximum screen time.

Mr. Merritt continues to baffle in the denigration of his voice in this interview.  There are also some interesting remarks about the relationship between Distortion and Realism.

There's also this sort of awkward interview that still manages to put forth lots of interesting information despite its awkwardness.  Stephin harps on the influences for Get Lost, reveals his plans to listen to a terrible band simply because of their band name, and says some awesome things about the setlist for the upcoming tour that have this author all sorts of excited.  Anybody have any guesses as to about which songs from 69 Love Songs he's talking?  My guesses are "Papa Was a Rodeo" and "Book of Love."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trailer



This looks absolutely remarkable.  I have wanted to see this film since I first found out Ms. Gail O'Hara was working on it several years ago, but this little three-minute-long trailer just blows my mind.

The website is here. The official Strange Powers Twitter is here.

The Boston Phoenix has posted this interview with Mr. Merritt.  Not a whole lot of information, but it's still worth a read.

Two days until the tour starts.  This is such an exciting time to be a fan of Mr. Merritt's work.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Officialization

!!!!!

Fantastic news on this first of February, friends!  Merge Records as announced  release date for the 69 Love Songs vinyl box set!  Granted, this has happened several times before and it has been delayed several times before, but this time they have proof:


How beautiful is that shit?  Pre-order it from Merge Records and receive a $10 discount and a printable e-valentine!  Such exciting news!

Also: @TheMagFields now exists.  It is, of course, The Magnetic Fields' Twitter account.