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 14, 2012

Listen to Stephin Merritt play a Beck song

The interview I mentioned in the previous post with Beck and Stephin Merritt on Soundcheck can be heard here. You can either listen to the entire interview or just Mr. Merritt's toy piano-laden cover of "Old Shanghai."  Please also note the brief shout-out to tuba player extraordinaire Johny Blood!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Lemony Snicket SM song, SM on the radio

Listen to this interview with Mr. Daniel Handler on NPR's Fresh Air to hear him play an accordion song written specifically for his new book, Who Could That Be at This Hour?, by Stephin Merritt.  Mr. Merritt briefly mentions the song's origins in this interview.  Mr. Handler has been playing the song on his Lemony Snicket book tour, as can be evidenced here.  Many thanks to Aimi Hamraie for the NPR link.

Also, Mr. Merritt will appear on Soundcheck this Thursday December 13 at 9:00pm EST.  He and Amy Regan will be interviewing musician Beck before Mr. Merritt plays one of Beck's new songs.  More information can be found here.  I will, unfortunately, be otherwise indisposed during the broadcast, so if anyone wants to record it for me or anything, that would be lovely.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

SM Event, Interview

I just returned from seeing The Magnetic Fields three times on their Fall tour, and I will just say that they were spectacular as usual.  The show in Pontiac was absolutely the best show I've ever seen the band do.  To those of you whom I met, it was a pleasure one and all.  You can see the set list the band played for most of the nights here.  See select photos from the tour here and below you can watch The Magnetic Fields performing "Que Sera Sera" with Emma Straub.



Stephin Merritt discusses his particular distaste for necrophilia here.

Most excitingly, though, The Magnetic Fields will be performing at Life Along the Borderline: A Tribute to Nico.  The event was curated by John Cale of The Velvet Underground and takes place January 16 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  Everyone should buy tickets for this amazing-sounding event here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SM Press Update

Stephin Merritt has done several interviews lately.  Riverfront Times interviews him here, where he discusses his love of shopping.  Minnesota Daily's interview is here.  The most interesting one, though, is the one from Gimme Noise, where Mr. Merritt discusses his love of Pauline Oliveros and his hatred of John Lennon's "Imagine."

 The Magnetic Fields' Fall tour starts tonight in Minneapolis with opener Gal Musette.  If you're in the area, I hope you're going.  This fair little blogger will be at the St. Louis, Pontiac and Pittsburgh shows. If you see an overly excited young gentleman in a suit and glasses, come say hello!

Friday, November 9, 2012

SM at 826NY Event

Stephin Merritt will be performing with a cavalcade of weirdos including Jonathan Franzen, Wyatt Cenac, Eugene Mirman and a whole lot more on December 7th at Union Hall.  The show is called "Rants & Other Suggestions," and is a benefit for 826NY.  Tickets and further information can be found here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Press Update

Stephin Merritt is doing some press to promote The Magnetic Fields' current tour, some of which is very, very good.  Namely, this interview with WNCW, wherein Mr. Merritt confirms that the next Future Bible Heroes is nearing completion, with an estimated arrival next Spring.  This news alone makes me as giddy as you might imagine, gentle reader.

The Dinner Party podcast has re-posted their interview with Mr. Merritt from earlier in the year, so if you didn't hear it then, get on it now.

Shuffle Magazine interviews Mr. Merritt here, featuring some fascinating little tidbits for sure.  Namely, Mr. Merritt says "When Rihanna discovers Dylan, she could become a great songwriter."  As confounding a statement as Mr. Merritt's ever made, though not one with which I am inclined to disagree.

Lastly, Mr. Merritt interviews Daniel Handler The Phoenix here.  Mr. Handler's nom de plume Lemony Snicket has a new book out entitled Who Could That Be at This Hour? and you should all go out and buy it right now because Mr. Handler is absolutely fabulous and deserves his book to be a bestseller.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

TMF Signing in Asheville

This Saturday, the 27th, The Magnetic Fields will be playing Moogfest in Asheville, NC.  Before the show, though, at 1:00pm, they will make a rare in-store signing appearance at Harvest Records.  More information can be found on the Facebook page for the event here.

Tomorrow night will be the first show of The Magnetic Fields' Fall 2012 tour in Hudson, NY (the only show of the tour to feature fabulous opener Kenny Mellman, I might add).  Find tickets and further information here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Detroit Show Relocation

The November 15th Magnetic Fields show in Detroit has been relocated from the Rosemont Theatre to the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, MI.  Most notably, the show is now in a general admission venue.  Those of us who originally purchased Gold Circle level tickets will be compensated with a free drink, a signed TMF poster, and early entry into the venue.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SM on the radio, Claudia Gonson event

Stephin Merritt just made an appearance on the WRPI radio show The Quest of Life.  If you missed it, though, no worries, the show is archived in podcast form here.

Claudia Gonson will be appearing at an all-too-enticing celebrity chef tasting called Rhythm & Soul.  To my understanding, Ms. Gonson will be one of a myriad hosts for the event.

Also, tickets are sold out for John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders Show tonight at City Winery. Stephin Merritt will be there playing four songs, so good on you if you were able to get tickets in time!

To tack on another in a series of very short paragraphs, don't forget that The Magnetic Fields' fall tour starts in just a few days in Hudson, NY!  Get tickets and info for the shows here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

TMF to play Boston New Year's Eve

On December 31st, The Magnetic Fields will be playing at the First Night Festival in Boston, MA.  The show will be at the Symphony Hall at 9:00pm, and more information can be found here.

Might I add that December 31st is a certain blogger's birthday?  And might I also add that said blogger is also shameless and would be willing to pander to his readers were they to offer him, say, a plane ticket as a birthday present?  Just throwing that out there, folks.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart cover "Jeremy"

I tend to not post covers on the blog if I can avoid it, as there are typically just too many and the market is over-saturated with not-so-great ones.  But, this one is actually quite good!  The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are planning to release a 7" whose A-side is a cover of The Magnetic Fields' "Jeremy," with the B-side being a cover of an East River Pipe song.  The Magnetic Fields cover is currently streaming here, along with an explanation of why the band chose to cover The Magnetic Fields.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

SM at BGIC, Claudia, more




Above is a video of Mr. Merritt performing at the Big Gay Ice Cream one-year anniversary.  He plays a couple songs that you might not be accustomed to hearing him play solo (including my favorite Future Bible Heroes song), and appears to be in quite a chipper mood in general.  The video comes highly recommended!

The film for the City Winery screening at which Mr. Merritt will be making an appearance has been announced as Kinji Fukasaku's absolutely wonderful Black Lizard.  If you've never seen the film, it's a campy, detective-y thrill ride with a cameo from Yukio Mishima.  In other words, the perfect film.  I'm really, really excited that Mr. Merritt chose it, and all the more jealous I won't be attending the screening.

Claudia Gonson pontificates on the many things that make her kitchen great for Saveur here.

Finally, the solo Stephin Merritt events promised when the Fall Magnetic Fields tour was initially announced have been confirmed here.  Unfortunately, they are all in New York City and one of them is the Black Lizard screening, but they sound promising nonetheless.

Friday, August 24, 2012

SM Film Screening

On September 21, City Winery in New York City will be hosting Stephin Merritt for a film screening and interview.  The film has yet to be announced, but it will be a film of Mr. Merritt's choosing, the contents of which will be discussed with him afterward.  Also up for discussion will be how film has effected Mr. Merritt's art and career.  More information and links to purchase tickets can be found here. Mr. Merritt is a former film student and has very good taste in film in general, so I'm sure this event will be tons of fun.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Couple New Events

The Magnetic Fields have announced an additional tour date for the Fall in Minneapolis, MN at First Avenue.  Tickets go on sale this Friday and can be found here, along with additional information.

Also, Stephin Merritt shares a headline with Diddy for what I imagine will be the first and last time here.  Mr. Merritt will be performing at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop's one-year anniversary.  The Big Gay Ice Cream people have a history with the band, the proprietor having played on Mr. Merritt's Showtunes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

TMF at Moogfest 2012

The Magnetic Fields' additional full-band appearance for the Fall has been announced!  The band will be playing Moogfest 2012 in Asheville, NC.  The festival will be taking place October 26th and 27th, with The Magnetic Fields playing on the last night.  Tickets can be purchased here.

Tracey Thorn, who you perhaps know from this song, will be releasing a Christmas album this October.  Among the many songs she will be covering is Stephin Merritt's "Like A Snowman," originally penned for Kiki & Herb's Christmas show.  Additional details can be found here.  I, for one, am very excited that this wonderful song will be heard by a wider audience than ever before, as it's always been amongst my favorite of Mr. Merritt's songs.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TMF Fall Tour Dates!

The Magnetic Fields have announced a string of tour dates in October and November!!  The exact dates for the shows and when tickets go on sale can be found at the House of Tomorrow calendar page.    The band promises some events featuring only Stephin Merritt as well as some further full-band appearances, to be announced at a later date.

I, myself, will be attending the St. Louis and Detroit shows, being the true Midwesterner that I am.  If any of ya'll plan on attending those shows, hit me up and say hello.  I'll be the most handsome man there, with the widest smile.

There's also this very interesting essay dissecting Mr. Merritt's work in relation to absurdity.  It's an example of the type of music journalism I wish was done more often, particularly in relation to Mr. Merritt's work.

Friday, July 27, 2012

New interview, The Shins cover "Andrew in Drag"

Below is a video of The Shins, known for having covered "Strange Powers" in the past, doing a rousing rendition of "Andrew in Drag."  I wish they hit the choruses a little bit harder, but other than that, it's as splendid a cover of the song as I've yet found.



Also, I'd be remiss not to point out this interview with Mr. Merritt, wherein very little new information is actually revealed.  That being said, there's a very interesting portion where the interviewer turns his attention to Claudia Gonson, who discusses her working relationship with Mr. Merritt in some detail.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Do you want to live in Stephin Merritt's house?

So, apparently, Stephin Merritt is selling his house.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about sharing this info, as it seems rather innocuous and personal, but news has been slow around here lately.  I do hope that this doesn't mean the end of Mr. Merritt's tenure in LA, I'll say that much, I guess.  Anyhow, go buy Stephin Merritt's house!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Stephin Merritt song



Above is a video advertising "Together," a series of films about queer culture by director Jeff Feurzig, sponsored by Pride Toronto.  The music for this video in particular features music by Mr. Stephin Merritt and Kenny Mellman, he of Kiki & Herb fame.  Check it out.

A write-up of the Philip Glass "Music With Friends" event can be found here.  An all-new interview with Mr. Merritt focusing largely on his time in the great city of Chicago can be found here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Music With Friends



On June 13, Philip Glass will be hosting an event at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn entitled "Philip Glass: Music With Friends."  In attendance will be Nate Wooley and Mr. Stephin Merritt.  Mr. Merritt will be playing a solo set, presumably similar to the one he did at Philip Glass's event earlier this year, before participating in a duet with Mr. Glass himself.  Needless to say, this event sounds goddamn mindblowing and if you live in the New York area and don't go, you can spend the evening going to fuck yourself instead.  Buy tickets here.

Also be sure to watch Stephin Merritt perform "Your Girlfriend's Face" for NPR here.

The Magnetic Fields' 2012 tour is officially over now.  If you saw the band, I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.  Be sure to check out the somber last few entries of Tour at the Bottom of the Sea.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Quick!" music video



Above you can watch the kinda strange new music video for The Magnetic Fields' "Quick!"  It's full of small crustaceans and water and garbage cans and beautiful women and all that sounds confusing until you sit down and watch the thing.

Still no word on whether or not a physical single is forthcoming, but I think it's safe to assume it ain't happenin' at this point.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Continued Press Junketry



So, yeah.  Above is a video of Mr. Stephin Merritt playing some songs for KEXP in a bathroom.  Most notably, he performs a cover of "Flush Piece" by Yoko Ono.  It's quite a moving rendition.

The Silver Tongue has posted this interview with Mr. Merritt that, quite frankly, covers very little new ground.  But, there you go anyhow.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stephin Merritt plays ukulele in a car.



Above is a video of Mr. Stephin Merritt playing what sounds like a severely up-tempo rendition of "This Little Ukulele" in the backseat of a car for Milan Acoustics.

Listen to an interview with Mr. Merritt here, by the way.

The Magnetic Fields begin the European leg of their tour tomorrow night in Brighton, UK.  Buy tickets for this particular event here.  While you're at it, go see the band a ton of times in Europe by buying all sorts of tickets here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Countless (but actually countable) interviews

NPR interviewed Stephin Merritt and you can listen to it here.  He talks about his songwriting process pretty extensively, at one point comparing love to crossword puzzles.  Using "chaos as the entree"on the next Magnetic Fields record makes a certain blogger shiver with anticipation.

The G-Man interviews Mr. Merritt here, and Crib Notes does so here.

Avant Greensboro has posted this really great review of The Magnetic Fields' two-night tenure in North Carolina, which includes a particularly charming story about meeting Ms. Claudia Gonson.

The Tour at the Bottom of the Sea has come to close along with the American leg of The Magnetic Fields' international tour.  The picture here, however, proves that it is going out with a bang.  A bevy of gratitude should be expressed to Ms. Emma Straub and Mr. Michael Fusco for being so cool and candid whilst touring with the band.  Cheers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Listen to TMF @ SXSW

NPR has posted part of the set The Magnetic Fields did for them during SXSW last month and is available for your listening pleasure here.  Due to some nasty laryngitis, the Shirley Simms-led songs are given to either Stephin or Claudia, which adds a particular charm to this recording for sure.  Recommended, for sure.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stephin Merritt interviewed, plays "I Die"



Above is a really beautiful video of Mr. Stephin Merritt playing "I Die"  for Xtra.ca on his ukulele.  It's the sparsest I've ever heard this particularly sparse song sound and I really adore it.  At this link, there is an additional video of Mr. Merritt playing "Andrew in Drag" and also one of him being interviewed, predominantly about queer issues.  Both are recommended, though I'm not sure we need any more videos of him playing "Andrew in Drag," thanks.

There's also a pretty great interview with Mr. Merritt by CBS here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Noisevox Interviews



Noisevoix.org has posted a 22-minute video interview with Stephin Merritt.  Lots of familiar ground is covered, but the interview is engaging enough in and of itself.  Mr. Merritt's answer to the "return-to-form" question made me giggle rather voraciously.

Friday, April 6, 2012

An Endless Procession of Interviews

In the Village Voice's interview with Mr. Stephin Merritt, found here, he becomes downright chatty when talking about his habit of buying strange instruments.  Of particular interest is his apparent ongoing but silent feud with one Trent Reznor.

Chapel Hill Weekly interviews Mr. Merritt here.  The cockroach-related incident to which he makes a reference can be viewed here.  The video shows scantly more than Mr. Merritt's seeming giddiness over the situation, but is delightful nonetheless.

Lastly, The Boston Globe has an interview with him as well, found here.

UPDATE:  The Washington Post just posted this interview, which leaves me screaming "Can we get Antony on a goddamn 6ths record already?"  Seriously, I can't tell you what a dream that would be.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Interviews + more!

The Awl interviews Mr. Merritt here.  Most interestingly, perhaps, he discusses the 26-year-old history of "God Wants Us to Wait" and his many other song fragments.  Knowing of these fragments' existence is frustrating, as all I want in the whole wide little world is to hear those fragments.

There's also this interview with The Londonist from a while back that I neglected to post until now.  Single gay male Londoners: be on the lookout!

Lastly, there's this article about travel nannies for musicians on tour, with a particular emphasis on Ms. Claudia Gonson and her too-cute daughter Eve.  Honestly, the article really does make me all the more appreciative that the band exists as a touring unit at all, and I'm certain there will be a day when that will no longer be the case.  This is one of the many reasons I obsess about seeing them so many times when they do tour.

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Quick!" single details


New Music United has announced that the forthcoming single for The Magnetic Fields' "Quick!" will be released on May 7th, 2012.  They do not mention whether the single will be digital-only or if we can expect a physical release.  The cover, pictured above, features the Michael English-designed TMF logo and a sparse white background.  I imagine more details will emerge in the coming weeks (including the upcoming video that Mr. Merritt mentioned once during every show I saw this week), and I hope you forgive me if I do not update the discography until details are solidified. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stephin Merritt discusses Future Bible Heroes

In this interview with Stephin Merritt by Exclaim.ca, Mr. Merritt confirms that the next project he will be undertaking will be a new Future Bible Heroes record!!  Information is scant, but for it to have a status update other than being "in the works" is rewarding to hear.  Ten years is too long to wait for a new Future Bible Heroes LP.

Show Summary

So, I spent the last three nights of my life watching The Magnetic Fields play live, twice in Chicago and once in Iowa City.  If you have yet to see them on this tour and the opportunity presents itself to do so in the future, I highly suggest you do so.  While the changes in this year's lineup (Ms. Simms on ukulele, Mr. Merritt on harmonium and melodica) may seem insignificant, it changes their sound a lot more than one might expect and they sound fantastic.  The set list is also unreasonably good, chronicling The Magnetic Fields' entire career, although there is a particular emphasis on 69 Love Songs and Love at the Bottom of the Sea, to be fair.  That being said, the highlight of the set by far is "Swinging London," which sounds so goddamn lush and full and beautiful that my jaw literally held agape every time I saw them play it.

If ever the band were to record a live album (which I know as well as anyone is a probable impossibility), then it should be on this tour.  The set list is conducive to one and they sound really powerful live.  It makes me sad that I will not have the opportunity to see them play again this year.  Let me live vicariously through you, gentle reader!  Go see this band!

Also, to all the blog-readers who said hello, it was a pleasure meeting you.  One couldn't ask for a kinder, more devoted audience.

I hope you're all following the marvelous tour blog this year, otherwise you're missing out on things like the Shirley-Simms-penned "Hookers and Blow."  Also, the lovely Ms. Emma Straub has started a secondary tour blog for The Paris Review, with the words:pictures ratio decidedly flipped.  It's as entertaining as its partner, though, and can be found here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Quick!" single + video coming soon!

The consistently frustrating Pitchfork has posted this summary of The Magnetic Fields' SXSW show, including some nice pictures I've sampled here.  Am I the only one who thinks Mr. Merritt looks like he's playing some hippie festival in this photo?

Also in the above article, it is confirmed that a music video for the next single from Love at the Bottom of the Sea, "Quick!," is in the works.  Not so long ago, someone on Twitter posted a picture from the set of the video shoot, but I'm unable to find it now.  Any help in this matter would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Videos from Tibet House and Upstairs at the Square

Someone posted this absolutely wonderful video of Stephin Merritt singing "Book of Love" last month at the Tibet House benefit at Carnegie Hall:


Mr. Merritt is accompanied by a string quartet, resulting in the song's best live rendition I've ever heard.

Also, be sure to watch Mr. Merritt and the fabulous Ms. Emma Straub at Upstairs at the Square here.  It's the entire performance and interview, and is wholly entertaining throughout.  If you're too lazy to dedicate an hour of your time to a really fascinating video, though, perhaps you can just read a recap of the event here.

Austinist interviews Stephin Merritt here, and Black Book does so here.  The best interview of today's batch, however, is with Seattle Weekly, where Mr. Merritt recommends cupcakes and mentions an idea for an alternate cover to Love at the Bottom of the Sea.  Also be sure to check out pictures from The Magnetic Fields' show at Union Transfer on Union Transfer's Facebook page.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rockol

Rockol has posted the following brief video interview with Stephin Merritt:



There are also videos of Mr. Merritt playing "Andrew in Drag" and "Your Girlfriend's Face" on his ukulele.  "Your Girlfriend's Face" becomes particularly entertaining when Mr. Merritt tries to emulate the song's fadeout.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Setlists, interviews and the like

A set list from last night's Magnetic Fields show at Union Transfer in Philadelphia has been posted here.  Obviously, if you're seeing the band and want to be surprised then avoid that link like it's the plague, but suffice it to say that there are loads of very exciting gems on there.

Carletta Sue Kay, a San Francisco-based musician who supplies a ton of backing vocals on Love at the Bottom of the Sea, is interviewed about the process of working with Mr. Merritt here.  It's a really great interview and I recommend highly you seek further information on Carletta Sue Kay, who is all kinds of brilliant.  Might I recommend her Facebook page?

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't post this horrendously awkward interview with Stephin Merritt, on whose awkwardness Mr. Merritt is hardly to blame.  It becomes difficult to read at a certain point, and I kind of think Mr. Merritt was kind to even finish the interview - I remember a time when the interviewer would have been more or less eviscerated rather than ignored.

Don't forget to go see Stephin Merritt and Emma Straub at Upstairs on the Square!  Tonight!  Kind of right now-ish!  Get over there!  And then go to the tour blog!  DO IT!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review

Sometimes I fear there are those of you who tire of me editorializing on this blog as frequently as I do.  Particularly when all I have to offer to intelligent conversation is effusive and endless praise of the music the blog purports to cover, which I'm sure doesn't always read as genuinely as it feels to me.  This being the case, I suppose it's only fair to offer the forewarning that if you count yourself amongst this number, then go ahead and bugger off because the following post isn't going to break tradition in any way.


The first noises on "God Wants Us to Wait" suggest that Love at the Bottom of the Sea isn't necessarily the "return-to-form" that so many have been espousing it to be.  Firstly, I'm not sure the band ever had a distinctive form to which they could return as they've never made two records (barring, of course, the first two) that sounded at all alike.  And, of course, just because Stephin Merritt is using synthesizers on a Magnetic Fields record again for the first time since the 90's doesn't mean that he's going to make a record that sounds anything at all like the records he made in the 90's.  Stephin Merritt proves forthwith on this record that he doesn't fucking move backward, he pushes forward to establish a new sonic soundscape and makes consistently beautiful music.


While not quite as cacophonous as 2008's Distortion (because what could be, really?), this is still a noisy record in a lot of ways.  Perhaps noise-y is a better way of putting it, inasmuch as it features a bounty of different sounds throughout.  "The Horrible Party," in particular, features a collage of odd, indiscernible sounds that pulsate throughout, being held together by the melody offered up by Mr. Daniel Handler's accordion.  The synthetic wall of sound is prominent throughout the record.  But, the songs are never overpowered!  The instrumentation and vocal takes are enhanced so much by these strange synthetic backgrounds, bolstered into a wholly different sphere of synth music.

I say synth music because to say that this is a synthpop record is to diminish one of the foremost accomplishments of Love at the Bottom of the Sea.  The production style of the record is far and away removed from the songs themselves in a lot of ways, which might not be much of a surprise for most fans of Stephin Merritt's music.  Mr. Merritt's songs are as genre-spanning as ever, they just happen to be layered with brand new synthesizers.  "All She Cares About is Mariachi," for instance, could easily be translated into Spanish and sung convincingly by an actual mariachi band.  "Goin' Back to the Country" is indeed a country song, and is as engaging as any country song Mr. Merritt has ever written.  That these genre experimentations not only survive but are, in fact, improved by the radical synth sounds is a testament to the masterful production work of this album.  

But, do I love the songs?  Of course I do.  Attempting to describe how widely I smiled when the synthy rhythmic beat of "God Wants Us to Wait" first kicked in would be a futile effort.  The pulsing, bouncing beat of "Born for Love" is amongst Mr. Merritt's most infectious hooks.  I've spent the past two days endlessly dancing to "Infatuation (With Your Gyration)," even when I haven't been listening to it, and alternately crying just thinking about the epic hate song that is "Quick!"  Others have described the record as being overarching; I don't think it's condescending to say that I'm not sure these people are listening properly.  Stephin Merritt's abilities as a lyrical storyteller really are more developed here than ever before.  The economy of words with which the story of "I'd Go Anywhere With Hugh" is told is proof of this enough, and to overlook that by calling it "arch" feels lazy to me.  I admit forthwith that if any one person has a natural predisposition to this music, it would be me, but I do not think I'm allowing that bias to get in the way here.  

Being a fan of Stephin Merritt's music has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life, this blog being cemented proof of that.  Love at the Bottom of the Sea does not disappoint.  Perhaps the best aspect of getting a new record as good as this one is establishing a relationship with the music that will continue to develop the more I listen to it.  I look forward to doing that with this record more than I can say, and discovering new things in it with which to fall in love years and years down the line.  Go buy the record, folks, and listen to it repeatedly.  

Love at the Bottom of the Sea out today!


The Magnetic Fields' tenth album and first to feature synthesizers in over a decade, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, is out in all formats today.  Please support the band and buy as many copies of it as you can here.

The band starts their 2012 tour in Hudson, NY tonight and will be traveling throughout North America and Europe over the ensuing months.  Buy tickets for these shows here, and don't forget to follow along with the band over at Tour at the Bottom of the Sea.

Lastly, Mr. Merritt has given quite a wealth of interviews lately.  Find them all below:

Salon (with long-time supporter and fan of the band Carl Wilson)

If I have left any off, please let me know in the comment or via e-mail.  Expect my own personal review of the new record up later in the day some time, but in the mean time, why don't you go buy an additional copy and listen to as profusely as I have been?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tour blog! Radio shows! Oh my!

Mr. Michael Fusco and Ms. Emma Straub, the oh-so-lovely merch team for The Magnetic Fields, have started the 2012 tour blog, Tour at the Bottom of the Sea.  If you followed the last two tour blogs, then you already know what a hoot they are and how much rejoicing should be appropriate to celebrate the new one.

Also, be sure to listen to Stephin Merritt on the Dinner Party Download podcast and on BBC Radio 6.

The new record comes out in two days.  I'll likely have my copy in one.  People.  We all need to be excited.  Remember to buy the record, and tickets to see the band on their upcoming tour.  Also you all need to go to see Mr. Merritt and the aforementioned Ms. Straub on March 8th at Upstairs on the Square.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Strange Pawers, Interviews


I suppose it was inevitable, really, but behold the new Tumblr account Strange Pawers, which brings together the two disparate worlds of cute pictures of kitty cats and Stephin Merritt lyrics.  Oh, internet.

Behold as well the new Tiny Mix Tapes interview with Stephin Merritt which can be found here.  Not to be outdone, The Brag has similarly posted an interview with Mr. Merritt here.  

Lastly, the lovely reader/commenter Maddock has undergone the task of transcribing the lyrics for Love at the Bottom of the Sea, which can be found here.  I am forever a prude, so I'm refusing to read any of these lyrics until I have the record in my hands, but suffice it to say that this was an endlessly cool thing for Maddock to do.  Oh, and Merge shipped my copy of the record already so it won't be too long before you lot are subjected to my effusively pretentious review of it.  Get ready!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A pair of interviews

Stephin Merritt gives what is probably his best interview yet of this particular press junket to The Skinny here.  In it, he divulges that he is currently working with a staggering 22 backing tracks for the upcoming Future Bible Heroes, as well as the primary inspiration for the musical upon which he is working with Mr. Daniel Handler.  I am, however, continuously befuddled about the fate of the so-called "lost" 6ths record, and even moreso by the fact that no interviewer ever thinks it necessary to question him about its sad fate.

The Stool Pigeon offers a rather dichotomous interview here.  The interviewer spends the majority of his time asking Mr. Merritt about his feelings on sincerity in pop music, a subject that is not only exhausted in several interviews, but with which Mr. Merritt has openly expressed disdain.  Naturally, it becomes a prickly interview about halfway through and henceforth there is a dearth of new or interesting information to be had.  Ah, well.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Book of Love

Spanish publisher Contra has recently released the book The Book of Love: 100 Canciones, a compendium to Mr. Merritt's songs.  The book features lyrics of several of Mr. Merritt's songs, in the original English and Spanish translations.  It also features both English and Spanish versions of Stephin Merritt's "The Formulist Manifesto," the tyrannical essay mentioned at length in Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields.  The book seems to be a perfect companion to Mr. Merritt's Spanish-speaking fanbase, which I understand to be quite sizable.  Find more information at Contra's website and Facebook.

The Line of Best Fit has posted a(nother) video of Mr. Merritt in his hotel room, playing "Andrew in Drag" in similarly-hued but slightly different clothing.  Watch below:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stream Love at the Bottom of the Sea!!!

NPR has posted the first stream of The Magnetic Fields' new album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, and it can be found here.  I am saving myself for the March 6th release date because I am a prude and a bit of an idiot, but COME ON, PEOPLE, GO LISTEN TO THIS!!  Talk about how great it is in the comments, if you will.

Also, The Arts Desk posted an excellent interview with Stephin Merritt here.  Thanks to Russ Coffey for bringing it to my attention.

Friday, February 24, 2012

More press than I'm comfortable shaking a stick at!

Stephin Merritt did a marvelous rendition of "Andrew in Drag," solo on his ukulele for DIY.  Watch the video below:



Somehow, this barebones version of the song renders it even more bleak and depressing than its studio counterpart.  It makes me anxious to know what the live version with the full band will sound like!

Music OMH has posted this interview with Mr. Merritt.  While it does not cover a ton of new ground, it is interesting in and of itself.  The comparison of Love at the Bottom of the Sea to Get Lost is both confusing and enticing.

Lastly, two more reviews of the new record have been posted.  Firstly, Rabbit Hole Urban Music posted this review, calling the record charming and likable.  The aforementioned Music OMH posted this review, which has sparked some amount of controversy over at Twitter.  Understandably so, if you ask one certain blogger.  To say that Mr. Merritt's songwriting hasn't evolved since 69 Love Songs is clearly the opinion of a madman who hasn't been paying attention, and I refuse to believe it's bias leading me to that opinion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TMF on KEXP

During their two-day tenure in Seattle, The Magnetic Fields will be making a pit-stop and playing live on KEXP, 90.3 FM.  They will be playing on March 20, at 1:00pm PT.  A Facebook page for the event (intended to be used as a reminder) can be found here.

For those of us outside Seattle, KEXP can be streamed here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Interview + Cover

Drowned in Sound has posted this interview with Stephin Merritt, wherein he extrapolates about the new album perhaps more than he has in any interview thus far.  Most excitingly, he confirms that he is in the process of writing two musicals, though he is significantly more tight-lipped about said process than Daniel Handler was several weeks ago.

Kerthy Fix also shared this cover of "Absolutely Cuckoo" as performed by a string quartet.  Check it out!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

LatBotS - Behind the Scenes

Sonic Scoop has posted this fascinating article about the making of Love at the Bottom of the Sea.  The piece mostly functions as an interview with engineer and frequent Merritt-collaborator Charles Newman, who divulges a wealth of information about his and Mr. Merritt's working process.  He also mentions the sheerly massive amount of synthesizers used on the record, which is of course amongst the article's most titillating tidbits.  Even detaching myself from my excitement over the release of the album, though, this article is really good and comes highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SM at Tibet House, Interview

Last night, Stephin Merritt performed at Carnegie Hall as part of a charity for Tibet House.  The event was curated by Philip Glass and featured fellow musicians Lou Reed, Antony Hegarty, Das Racist, and a bevy of others.  Pictures from the event (including the one shared to the left) can be found here, documented by Pitchfork's own Will Deitz.

Spinner posted this interview with Mr. Merritt, wherein he discusses how he landed this particular gig and his specific connection to the charity being benefitted.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Interview + LatBotS Review

The first in what will likely turn out to be a long series of interviews from Mr. Stephin Merritt's recent press junket has been posted by The Guardian.  In it, Mr. Merritt discusses bear culture, the infamous Butt Magazine photoshoot, and, of course, the new record.  While there is perhaps not quite enough information about the new record to please a certain blogger, Mr. Merritt appears to be in top interview form.

Furthermore, Contact Music has posted a very early review of Love at the Bottom of the Sea, ultimately awarding it 6/10.  While this number may seem cold, several nice things are said about the record as well.

Don't forget to pre-order as many copies Love at the Bottom of the Sea as you can and buy tickets to see The Magnetic Fields on their upcoming tour!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Andrew in Drag" music video!!

The Magnetic Fields have released a video for their single "Andrew in Drag!"  The video, directed by Scott Valins, features Mr. Stephin Merritt and Ms. Claudia Gonson rotating expressionlessly as well as two drag performers going through the processes of drag transformation.  Read more about the video here, and watch below:

Friday, January 27, 2012

"When Next in Love I Fall" lyrics!

Having received my copy of the "Andrew in Drag" 7" today, my day has been whiled away listening and re-listening to the B-side "When Next in Love I Fall."  It's a really gorgeous song with an unforgettable melody and poignantly poetic lyrics that are not transcribed, much to my own befuddlement and ire, in a lyric sheet of any kind.  As such, I've taken it upon myself to transcribe the lyrics as I have heard them.


When next in love I fall,
it will be for a day,
no less no more.
For after that it's all downhill:
meeting the folks, 
hearing their jokes!
It's all a hoax
and such a bore.

A day and nothing more.

When next in love I fall,
I think I'll fill one night and 
then move on.
We'll laugh a laugh,
and drink a drink.
Then vow a vow 
to bow a bow,
remembering how love doesn't dawn.

One night and then move on.

When next in love I fall,
I guess a single hour will be enough
to play the games of love and chess.
We'll speak of Sartre
and sing of art,
then dance apart
which will be rough.

One hour will be enough.

When next in love I fall,
I'll give it three minutes
just like a song.
I'll give it just that long to live
before before
before before 
before before
it all goes wrong.

Three minutes like a song.

There is a question mark by the line ending with "die" because, having listened to it several times, that is what I discern it to be, but this line would break the rhyme scheme otherwise presented in the song.  Any ears more objectively discerning than my own would be appreciated!  Lyrics have most probably been corrected, with many thanks extended to the oh-so lovely Mr. Brian Coffey.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Openers for US tour confirmed

The Merge Records website has confirmed all of the opening acts for the US portion of The Magnetic Fields' 2012 tour.  The duty will be split between the aforementioned Holcombe Waller, Bachelorette, Kelly Hogan (well known for having covered "Papa Was a Rodeo"), and an all-acoustic DeVotchKa.  This is all, of course, very exciting!  Openers for the European portion of the tour have yet to be announced.

For those of you who missed Mr. Stephin Merritt's appearance at Cinefamily last month, a series of clips from the event have been uploaded, the first of which can be found here.  Eternal gratitude to Mr. Ian Crane for pointing me in the direction of these clips.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trailer for Stephin Merritt video game, Opener for TMF

According to this tweet, a gentleman called Holcombe Waller will be opening up for The Magnetic Fields at a few dates of their 2012 tour.  Other openers are yet to be announced, though I'd imagine you know where to go for future clarifications on such subjects.

 Also, a trailer for Space Cruiser, the live video game with narration provided by Stephin Merritt premiering tomorrow night now has a trailer.  Watch it below.


SPACE CRUISER from Ivan Safrin and Babycastles from Ida C. Benedetto on Vimeo.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stephin Merritt stars in a video game

Odd a sentence though it may seem to type, Stephin Merritt will be starring in a video game.  The American Museum of Natural History will be hosting a live, in-person video game entitled "Space Cruiser." From what I can gather, the game will center around a spaceship controlled by up to 200 people with narration provided by Mr. Merritt.  Music for the event will be provided by One Ring Zero.  The event will take place on January 26.  Tickets are $75 and can be purchased here.  I would love to hear about it if any of you lovely readers do attend the event.

Daniel Handler continues to torture us with the ever elusive Song From Venus in this interview, comparing it to Chinese Democracy.  In more exciting news, however, he says the he and Mr. Merritt have been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to write another musical, which is already in workshop stages.  I hope this one's future is more prosperous than its seemingly ill-fated predecessor.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stephin Merritt on XFM right now!

Mr. Stephin Merritt is appearing on John Kennedy's X-Posure show on XFM as I type these very words.  He will be engaged in conversation with Mr. Kennedy and will also be playing songs from his ukulele.  The show can be streamed here, and do not fret if you're in America and it tries to boot you off.  Just give them a UK postal code and the problem is solved instantly.

Do not fret, however, if you are reading these words too far into the future to hear it live.  Mr. Kennedy's show is podcasted and past episodes can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Andrew in Drag" now streaming!

Merge Records has uploaded "Andrew in Drag," The Magnetic Fields' first single off their new record, to stream here.  Do I need to tell you that it's GREAT?  Do I need to tell you that however excited I was before now seems like a silly amount of excitement in comparison to the corpulent excitement within me after hearing this song?  Listen to the song, people.


Merge Records has the "Andrew in Drag" 7" available for preorder here.  They describe the single's b-side, "When Next In Love, I Fall," as ukulele-driven, which would be in stark juxtaposition with the very synthy a-side, but is riveting information nonetheless.  You have an overeager blogger on your hands, kind readers!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Stephin Merritt at Upstairs on the Square

On March 8, Mr. Stephin Merritt will be appearing with one half of Magnetic Fields merch team extraordinaire Emma Straub at an event called Upstairs on the Square.  The lovely Ms. Straub blogs about the event here, and confirms that Mr. Merritt will be playing some songs to complement her own reading from her book, Other People We Married.  The pair will also be interviewed.

Ms. Straub also confirmed a forthcoming tour blog, which is a cause for celebration 'round these parts.