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.

Monday, March 22, 2010


The Manchester show received this review from a nonplussed viewer.  To be quite honest, I'm getting tired of people approaching Mr. Merritt's work as if it were part of the indie-rock canon.  People expecting to go see the band and be treated to a show similar to that of any other band working today are really only feeding into the minutiae of sameness that indie culture encourages.  The Magnetic Fields are not a band that can be so easily lumped, in my opinion, and I'm waiting for the day when Mr. Merritt is removed from it.  But, quoth the man himself:

"I could make only calypso music for the next hundred years and win all the calypso Grammys for the next hundred years, and still be found only in the indie tock section of every store and online retailer."

Sad state of affairs, to be sure.

But, to be a bit more upbeat now, I recommend a quick listen to this charming cover of The Magnetic Fields' "Grand Canyon," by the regrettably-named The Magnetic Feeler-Uppers.  I wish I were making that name up, yes, but the song is quite good and well worth your three minutes.

Perhaps most excitingly today, though, is this hour-long interview with Kerthy Fix, director of Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields.  Despite the interviewers' lack of in-depth knowledge in Mr. Merritt's work itself, the interview offers tons of great insight into Ms. Fix's and Mr. O'Hara's work process on the film and their relationship with their subject.  Kudos to the interviewers, for sure.  Unfortunately for me, however, hearing this only makes me more painfully giddy about this film.  Driving to Durham is looking less and less likely, so I'm having to fall back on my original plan of waiting on the DVD, which certainly does not sound like a fun prospect.


  1. if you come to NYC I'll put you up and buy you a minimum of two (2) breakfasts.

  2. ...and some beverages prior to, or immediately after the showing.

  3. Mr. Pena, this offer might prove too titilating to refuse, and is met with utmost gratitude on my end. We shall discuss this more, for sure, when the screening in NY is announced.

  4. HA!

    I rarely actually lol on the interwebs, but that made me lol.

  5. The Manchester show was truly awesome. I arrived in town at 4.30 and wondered whether the soundcheck would be taking place... I entered the cathedral to the wonderful 'Seduced and Abused'. I was lucky enough to see/hear the band work through a half hours worth of material before they wrapped up before a sermon was to take place. I tentatively eyed my opportunity to get an autograph and approached Claudia to tell her how stoked I was to see the band in my home town, she was (to be blunt) pretty dismissive and said that 'now wasn't a good time'. Nice. Stephin kindly signed my 69LS booklet http://u.nu/2vtu7 and drew a little bear, I asked him if he had a favourite lyric and he said no. Claudia then ushered everybody away. As far as I'm aware she manages the band so my have had a lot on her plate, oh well. The gig was everything I'd hoped and the setlist was fucking unreal - http://u.nu/2wtu7 I had an amazing night and didn't notice the clinking of glass, the sound was also great where we were. This band has pretty much etched it's name on my heart.


  6. Man, Alex, thanks so much for the absolutely AWESOME writeup! Seeing the band is such an unreal feeling, I love hearing multiple perspectives of it - it's like all of our ideas combined could never properly do their live show justice and that's just incredible to me.

    Strange to hear Claudia described as dismissive, though - when I met her, she was indescribably cordial and called me a sweetheart, which was too endearing for words. She accepted my nerdiness (and my cupcakes) very well.

    Nice autograph, though!!

  7. No problem Michael, I'm still high from the show it was lovely. I guess we all have our moments, I remember hearing all this bad stuff about Paul Westerberg but when I actually met him, he was great - hugs n' all! It was the same with Colin Meloy, the first time I saw him in Manchester the Decemberists were pretty unknown and there was only a few of us there to see them. Colin was really nice and spent ages talking/drinking to/with us (even packing his own stuff away). The second time he came to Manchester, the bigger venue was heaving with trendy new fans, the gig was terrible and the bands security were pricks. I went off the band as my 'secret' was truly blown. I guess I'm just selfish and want everything to be special all the time, life isn't like that. Anyway, what are the chances of the band covering ABBA in Stockholm tonight? I'd bet my life on it. Thanks for the yummy blog Michael, what a nice place to come and be amongst friends. :)

  8. Somewhere in the vast crevices of my collection I have a recording of Stephin singing "The Visitors" by ABBA. It is, as expected, completely lovely.

    And, thanks very much for the kind words, sir!