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.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Andrew in Drag 7"!

On January 31, The Magnetic Fields will release their first 7" single since "I Don't Believe You" in 1998!  The first single from the new album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, will be "Andrew in Drag."  The b-side of the single is a non-album track entitled "When Next in Love, I Fall."

The single is out via Merge records, and features the lovely owl from the cover of the new record looking particularly fabulous.  It will be limited to 1,000 copies.  Pre-orders are currently available here, but I will update when they're available from Merge Records directly.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Dream Again" music video

Earlier this year, on Record Store Day, Franz Ferdinand released an EP called Covers, featuring Mr. Stephin Merritt doing a cover of Franz Ferdinand's "Dream Again" (where he was inaccurately credited as "Stephen Merritt").  All these many months later, Franz Ferdinand has released a music video for this song:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TMF in Spain

The Magnetic Fields have added some Spanish dates to the European leg of their tour.  Full information can be found at the oft-referenced House of Tomorrow Calendar.

Friday, December 16, 2011

SM at Cinefamily fundraiser

Mr. Stephin Merritt will be appearing at a fundraiser for the historic Los Angeles silent film theater Cinefamily.  At 3:00am, on December 17, Mr. Merritt will be hosting a short feature appropriately-titled "Films You Can't Go to Sleep To."  He'll be showing a series of short films, and will introduce each film with an original song on his ukulele.  Further information, including a full schedule for the 24-hour event, can be found here.

Don't forget to buy tickets to see The Magnetic Fields next year.  Full dates can be found here, and you can preorder the album here.

UPDATE: The above link to the Cinefamily event will take you to a page that is live streaming the entire fundraiser event!  To reiterate, Mr. Merritt will go on at 3:00am, so stay up late.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Magnetic Fields Record!!!


The new Magnetic Fields record will be released on March 6 via Merge Records and will be entitled Love At the Bottom of the Sea.

According to a press release from Merge Records, this record will be synth-heavy in stark contrast of the completed-with-Realism no-synth trilogy.  Intones Mr. Merritt: "Most of the synthesizers on the record didn't exist when we were last using synthesizers."  Preorders are available at the aforelinked press release.

As more details of the record are announced (and possibly those of an ensuing tour), I hope you know by now where to go for consistent updates.  How excited is this little blogger right now?!

UPDATE: The House of Tomorrow has posted a tracklisting for the record.  Most excitingly, perhaps, is the Oprah-inspired "My Husband's Pied a Terre," though all the titles sound fabulous and make me want the record more than I can say.  It's becoming very difficult to not become editorial at this point.

UPDATE: 2012 tour dates have been announced.  Pre-sale tickets are available here.  The pre-sale ends 12/15/2011.  Pre-sale is officially over!  For a full list of the band's extensive tour dates, check out the House of Tomorrow Calendar.  I'll be at both Chicago shows, and the Iowa show.  If you see a sweatervested boy shaking with glee near the front, come say hi!

UPDATE: Aggggggh, I'm freaking out!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TMF at SXSW

The Magnetic Fields have been added to the 2012 lineup for the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, TX!  More details to come, naturally.

All these 2012 dates leave me feeling quite anxious!  Coupled with the band's suggestive tweets as of late, the likelihood of a very exciting post on this blog becomes more and more apparent every day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More TMF dates!!

The Magnetic Fields have announced yet another show for the year of 2012!  You English folks are lucky. On April 25 of next year, The Magnetic Fields will be playing the Royal Festival Hall.  Further information and tickets are available here.

Thanks much to the effervescent Mr. Brian Coffey for the tip.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

TMF at ATP!


The rescheduled lineup for the All Tomorrow's Parties festival next March in Minehead, UK has been announced.  Second-billed, after the curator Jeff Mangum, are none other than The Magnetic Fields!  Along with Mr. Mangum, they will be headlining a night of the festival.

The festival will take place next March 9-11, and you can buy tickets here.  TMF are not well-known for festival appearances (XX Merge a couple years ago being the most recent exception to that rule), but I have reason to believe that this will not be the only date to take place next March.  However, that's all hearsay at this point, so ignore me, folks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stephin Merritt & co. On Craig Ferguson

Moby, he of Play fame, just tweeted the following delectable tweet:

october 31 i'll be involved in a one night only halloween supergroup with stephin merritt, amanda palmer, and neil gaiman. on craig ferguson

This, of course, is extraordinarily exciting.  According to Neil Gaiman's enviable blog, he will be sitting in the chair and acting as the spokesperson for the band.  This show will also be the starting point for his and his lovely wife's An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer tour, with which one can only surmise that a certain Mr. Merritt might very be involved (if only for the L.A. date).  

Mr. Gaiman also says that Ms. Palmer is responsible for putting the group together.  This does make me more hesitant to believe that they will be debuting a song from the upcoming Merritt/Gaiman Grand Guignol musical, but a boy can still dream.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A couple of interviews

The Quietus has posted a really long, really detailed interview with Mr. Stephin Merritt here.  In it, they discuss Mr. Merritt's propensities as a songwriter, his adoration for silent film, and several other topics.  Most excitingly, however, they discuss the status of the next Magnetic Fields record, for which Mr. Merritt admits he is doing a ton of solo recording.

Also, Ms. Gail O'Hara has written a piece about the influence of Serge Gainsbourg for Salon.com here.  Mr. Merritt is briefly quoted in the piece about his favorite Gainsbourg duet, "Comic Strip," a doozy of a song if ever there was one.  Listen to it here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Claudia Gonson at The Recipe Project Release Party

One Ring Zero, friends of The Magnetic Fields, fellow Claudia Gonson clients, and magnificent band in their own right are involved in a new multimedia project entitled The Recipe Project.  In celebration of its release, they will be holding a record release party at which Ms. Claudia Gonson will be singing!  Reserve a space for the show here.

Below is my particular favorite One Ring Zero song, "Radio," from their album As Smart as We Are.  Free hugs and kudos to whoever is able to tell me the special Magnetic Fields connection with this song!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Holiday Reissued on Vinyl

On October 24, Merge Records will be re-releasing The Magnetic Fields' seminal 1994 album Holiday on vinyl!

You can preorder the record here for $17.98, or you can buy all the Stephin Merritt-related LPs released by Merge (Charm of the Highway Strip, Get Lost, Obscurities, and Holiday) for $56.98.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obscurities Out Now!

Obscurities, the long-awaited Stephin Merritt rarities collection, is out now via Merge Records.  Purchase the album at the Merge Records online store, which offers free shipping to all US orders.  The $17.98 vinyl edition offers a free download code in order to upload the record to MP3 format.  Cheers!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stream Obscurities, New Interview

Obscurities is streaming in its entirety over here!!  It felt like a short listen, but hearing all those new songs is so worth it.  "The Sun and The Sea and The Sky" may already be amongst my favorite Stephin Merritt songs (and therefore amongst my favorite of any songs); why he didn't include it in the final lineup of 69 Love Songs will forever elude me.  Anyhow, many many thanks to Paste Magazine for streaming the album, and you lot should all go listen to it and then buy as many copies of the record next week as you can possibly muster.

Also, Cowbell Magazine just posted this very cool interview with Mr. Merritt wherein he dissects the process of compiling the record and goes into detail about the origins of some of the songs.  In particular, he offers up a scant bit more information on A Buffalo Rome, confirming the singer of "Plant White Roses" once and for all (and after hearing it, it seems slightly obvious).  Furthermore, he continues to mislead with the possibilities of The Song From Venus ever actually being released which is all well and good.

Go listen to Obscurities, I implore you all.  Particularly if you're unfamiliar with some of Mr. Merritt's work from the early 90's, this is a good way to whet your appetite before you take the full plunge and start hunting down old 7" records on eBay.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Want to Be Stephin Merritt's Boyfriend



The title of this post may seem like an overdue confession from your loyal author, but it is instead the title of the song in the above video.  It is by an artist called The Waifs of the Wharf, and has oddly mysterious backgrounds (inasmuch as I don't know anything more than what I've said here).  It's a cute, jaunty, ukulele-driven ode to Mr. Stephin Merritt and comes highly recommended.

Also, a bit of trivia: the footage to which the song is set is the 1907 film Le Cochon Danseur, which Mr. Merritt has acknowleged as a great film for which he would gladly write a score if given the opportunity.

The Magnetic Fields have also officially started recording their next album in the historic (for fans of the band, at least) Mother West Studios.  I expect much rejoicing!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TMF Return to Merge!

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!! The Magnetic Fields will be releasing their new album in early 2012 via Merge Records! Details other than those are scant, but in the mean time, we have Obscurities to anxiously await.

I'm wondering what has become of Nonesuch Records, for sure. But, who cares right now? New Magnetic Fields in as little as six months!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

First Obscurities Review, Neil Gaiman

The first review of Obscurities can be read here.  It's pretty much wholly positive, if a bit nonplussed with the lack of new tracks.  The reviewer does refer to the singer of "Plant White Roses" as Claudia Gonson, which feels like a mistake, but still succeeds in furthering my confusion as to the origin of that particular track.

Also, Neil Gaiman sheds scant more information on the aforementioned-on-this blog Grand Guignol musical he is writing with Mr. Stephin Merritt in this interview.  In it, he refers to the project as "disturbing theatre with songs."  Not quite a shocker to hear, of course, but completely exciting nonetheless.

Monday, May 23, 2011

NEW STEPHIN MERRITT RELEASE!

That's right!  A long-awaited Stephin Merritt rarities collection is in the works, and it has a super delicious-looking cover.  Can words express how excited I am by this prospect?  NONONO!

Sure, half the tracks are available on 7" records and other such things, but the other half are songs that have never before been released!!  There are three songs from the as-yet unfinished Stephin Merritt/Daniel Handler musical collaboration The Song From Venus, one 69 Love Songs outtake, and the heavy metal song "Scream (Till You Make the Scene)," which Mr. Merritt briefly mentions in Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields.

The album, about which I am having trouble not pontificating at this point, is being released August 23rd by Merge Records (which seems strange, but most of these songs were originally released on Merge, so I assume it's a legal issue).  I highly recommend that everyone read this Stereogum article, in which Mr. Merritt extrapolates about each song on the forthcoming release.  More excitingly, it features an mp3 of "Forever and a Day," a song from The Song From Venus.  It's a very beautiful ukulele wedding song that sounds like it would have fit perfectly on 69 Love Songs.

I haven't been this excited to post a piece of news on this blog in a long time!  Let us all rejoice!  I have yet to locate a place where a preorder is available, but you can assume it'll be mentioned here as soon as it becomes available to preorder.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quick Interviews

Thanks to Mr. Alex Anderson for sharing this new quick interview with Mr. Stephin Merritt with me.  It appears to be from an upcoming documentary on indie rock and it features the cutest human/dog interaction maybe ever as well as some spiffy shruti box action.



Also, click here to read a fascinating pair of interviews with Stephin and Claudia Gonson about mermaids, mermaid culture, and its relationship to pop and folk music.  Mr. Merritt dishing on his Aquaman crush is particularly charming.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Franz Ferdinand Update

Mr. Stephin Merritt will be covering a song entitled "Dream Again" on the upcoming Record Store Day exclusive Franz Ferdinand Covers EP.  Proof (if you demand it), and scant more information can be found here.  Thanks forevermore to Keith for this information.  While this particular Franz Ferdinand track does remind me slightly of "When I'm Not Looking, You're Not There", it seems like just as odd a choice for Mr. Merritt to cover as any other Franz Ferdinand song would have proven to be.  I will be looking forward to Record Store Day this year!

Also, Ms. Gail O'Hara has written a brief history of the world's second most famous chihuahua (I have to give that Beverly Hills Chihuahua dog some credit) here.  Irving Berlin's reputation proves to be as feisty as his appearances in the documentary would have you believe.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stephin Merritt Covers Franz Ferdinand

Stephin Merritt is contributing yet another cover song to this year's Record Store Day.  This April 16, Franz Ferdinand will release a 12" entitled Covers, featuring a contribution from Mr. Merritt.  All songs will apparently be from Franz Ferdinand's last LP entitled Tonight, but a specific tracklist for the 12" has yet to be released.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Magnetic Fields in Spanish

An Argentine trio by the name of Alvy, Nacho, y Rubin has released a Stephin Merritt tribute album entitlted Alvy, Nacho, y Rubin interpretan a Los Campos Magneticos.  The band has apparently spent the past year or so working with Claudia Gonson and Stephin Merritt to interpret his songs into Spanish.  The results?  Phenomenal.



Without resorting to hyperbole, this may be one of my favorite covers of one of Mr. Merritt's songs I've yet heard.  There are more videos of the band playing live here, but really, you should just buy the album.  It's available on iTunes and I'm confirming details of a physical release as we speak.

Eternal gratitude to the band's producer, Mr. Federico Novick for alerting me to the band's existence.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On-Demand

Does your cable provider offer you on-demand viewing privileges?  If so, as of today, you can watch Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields on demand, courtesy of FilmBuff.  I have Comcast cable, and I found the film listed under "New Digital Releases" and "Indies & Foreigns" for $4.99.  Go support this film, guys!!

Also, it's available for pre-order on iTunes today.  So there are all sorts of avenues through which you can give your money to the film.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Strange Powers Released Digitally

So, the official Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields Facebook page just announced that the film will be released digitally in February.  I assume this means iTunes, Amazon, and things of a similar ilk and I'm super excited about the opportunity to watch the film every day in every way, particularly to utilize the pause functions on all those old notebooks and things.  It's also important to note that Ms. Kerthy Fix announced at the first Chicago screening that they're working on a "super deluxe" DVD for the film (her words, not mine).  Oh, the hours I will while away with that...

Ms. Kerthy Fix is interviewed on the Director's Notes podcast here.  It's a pleasant interview, and for someone who is asked more questions about the subject of her film than the film itself, I think Ms. Fix is a really great and wonderful interviewee.  She was also super nice in Chicago earlier this week, so there's that too...

And, I'm sure there are those of you who are way, way cooler than I and have already seen the below video, but I'm just finding it because I'm lame.  It's a video of Ms. Sarah Silverman discussing her discovery of Stephin Merritt's music and proceeding to play "Come Back From San Francisco," making me wonder if she's using the Stephinsongs tabs...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Strange Powers in Review

So, I'll start by saying that I'm aware of how rarely I have anything negative to say about any projects at all Merritt-related.  In reviewing Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields, I'm not sure if that will be the case, though any qualms I have with the film are admittedly superficial in nature.  That being said, it is highly likely that the subject matter of the film alone has given it the status of my new favorite film of all time, despite the fact that I admit it has flaws as a film.  But, I've found enough perfection elsewhere in the world (ahem) to expect it everywhere.

Perhaps what I love most about the film is its focus on Stephin Merritt's music as opposed to trying to delve into his personal life.  I think my rabid fanaticism on this blog can sometimes give the misconception that my obsession lies with the man whose name is in the title of this blog, but reallytrulyhonestly it is, and always has been, with the music said man creates.  Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields, while certainly a testament to Stephin's relationship with Claudia, is much more of a love song to Stephin's music than anything else.  Surely it relays a concise overview of his personality, but it does so without pandering to discuss topics like his love life or childhood to any ridiculous extent.

However, herein lies perhaps my biggest quibble with the film.  In several interviews, Ms. Kerthy Fix has stated Mr. Merritt's only contributed edits to the film were musical in nature; after what I'm sure was an extensive editing process, this remains a problem.  As an enormous fan of the music played in the movie, it was unnerving to hear it in these mostly choppy forms; I understand the necessity, as playing the entire songs does not work in a narrative sense, but for someone like myself who has heard these songs literally hundreds and hundreds of times, it served as a distraction and an annoyance.

From my perspective as a ridiculous superfan, though, the film really did do everything I needed it to.  Watching Stephin and Claudia argue about where the measure ended in "In An Operetta" literally brought tears to my eyes; again, I've spent countless hours of my life devoted to this man's music, punditry, and my silly little blog, and those intimate moments where Stephin is creating music were really poignant and beautiful...  But, no doubt, my favorite moment in the film is Stephin discussing beauty.  At that point, Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields functions as a piece of art and a labor of love moreso than in any other moment...  Stephin is saying how he views other records as early cinema verite, and how his own are celebrations of beauty - instead of Stephin onscreen, though, there is this beautiful scene from a 1950's musical whose title I'm too dense to know offhand, and its beautiful and perfect.  Having wondered several times in my life how exactly to put into words what it is I love about Stephin Merritt's art, I thank Ms. Kerthy Fix and Ms. Gail O'Hara immensely for giving me a 15-second clip to which I can forever point for an answer...

Will someone who is unfamiliar with the music love the film as much as I did?  I don't know - I can only speak from my perspective.  And, chances are, if you're reading this, you'll find it easier to connect with me than a nonfan, and as such, I'm sure you'll love it.  Go through any lengths you can to see it, friends.  I love all of you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

Several people have e-mailed me, and several websites are reporting that today is Mr. Stephin Merritt's birthday.  Sadly, this is erroneous information that has somehow spread all over the internet.  That Wikipedia has more power than I can imagine.  In a little less than a month, I will update the blog to wish Mr. Merritt a happy birthday on his proper birthday.

Also, expect a review of Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields in the coming days, kiddos.  I love all of you!