Film At 11: Sneaks

Washington D.C., favorite Sneaks released new album It’s A Myth (Merge) earlier this year, and today we are pleased to bring you the first video from the LP, “With A Cherry On Top.” The clip is a barely two-minute eccentric voyage, presenting recurring images of cherries and other items sung about in the song. Do yourself a favor and check it out below.

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Happy Birthday Lisa Germano

Happy birthday to Lisa Germano. Read our feature here.

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MP3 At 3PM: Nathan Oliver

Nathan Oliver has just released the Head In The Sand EP, and we hope you’re not missing out. We submit for your approval “Sing Blue Silver,” a downtrodden rock song that begets quite the emotional apex in its slight darkness—like a warm, welcoming cut from Unknown Pleasures. Check it out below.

“Sing Blue Silver” (download):

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Essential New Music: Blondie’s “Pollinator”

After almost two decades of silence, Blondie reunited in 1999, and this fifth post-reunion project tips its hat to the band’s influence on pop with several famous fans collaborating on songwriting and performing. The result is classic Blondie, the band’s best album since it reunited—maybe its best ever. The arrangement of “Long Time” features Debbie Harry’s strong vocals, a memorable chorus and a new-wave punch that echoes Blondie’s early hits without copying them. Sia wrote and contributed vocals to “Best Day Ever,” a breakup song that celebrates the freedom at the end of a relationship. “Love Level,” a Harry/Chris Stein original, is a seductive dance track with Harry providing the kind of sassy vocal that made her an icon, while “Fragments,” the album closer, shows her digging deep to deliver one of her most powerful vocals, full of raw emotion and anguished longing.

—j. poet

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From The Desk Of Glenn Morrow: Almost Famous Moment, 1973 (Todd Rundgren And Utopia)

Glenn Morrow is a Hoboken, N.J., music treasure. He owns the influential 31-year-old Bar/None label (Yo La Tengo, They Might Be Giants, Feelies, dB’s, Of Montreal). His bands, such as the Individuals and “a,” have helped put the Mile Square City on the indie-rock map for equally as long. His latest project is Glenn Morrow’s Cry For Help, which has a new self-titled album. Morrow will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Morrow: My first brush with the music biz went like this: I went to a Todd Rundgren concert at a Jersey college in the middle of winter. As I was sitting in my mom’s Plymouth station wagon waiting for the doors to open, there was a knock on the window. This sophisticated girl in a long black dress with billows of curly hair told me she was a friend of Todd’s. She said she was waiting to get in herself and could she sit with me in my car? She was training to be a sound engineer at Secret Sound Studios. I knew that place from Todd’s album covers. In a matter of moments, she was laying all kinds of insider info on me. She’d been Moogy Klingman’s girlfriend, but he’d thrown her over and refused to put her on the guest list! Could I talk to the stage manager? His name was Rocket (or something like that); all I had to do was go to the stage, ask for him and tell him “_____” was outside. Moogy was so mean and Todd was the greatest and was encouraging of her interest in engineering. We talked about different albums. She told me the new stuff was really different—Utopia was sort of like Mahivisnu Orchestra! The album was just about to come out.

Looking back now from a more knowing vantage point I feel for this woman—stuck in a world that, to this day, is dominated by men. She had a Max’s Kansas City hipster look. I remember thinking she looked like Miss Christine on the liner sleeve of the Runt album with a shag haircut and diaphanous black dress. I went in and found “Rocket”—he rolled his eyes a little but let her in. She thanked me profusely. Even now, I still wonder: Did she become a recording engineer or was it too impossible to break into that world? That must have been a heady crew to be mixed up with. You can imagine what it was like for a woman at that time that wanted to be seen as an equal. Anybody know who she might be or what happened to her?

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Film At 11: Ride

After 21 long years of anticipation, Ride has finally released Weather Diaries, the shoegaze band’s first LP since 1996’s Tarantula. Along with the album, the quartet also issued a video for “All I Want”. The four-minute clip centers on a man who’s running from something, while Ride plays in the background. Check out the video below.

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MP3 At 3PM: Fawns Of Love

Fawns Of Love are following up Who Cares About Tomorrow with a new seven-inch. We’ve got the first side of “Falling”/”Standing” for you today, and we can’t help but think of the Julee Cruise song of the same name. After all, both tracks present a kind of sentimental coldness, a dream pop freezing over nostalgia. Fawns Of Love would fit right in at David Lynch’s Roadhouse. Check out “Falling” below.

“Falling” (download):

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Jean-Michel Jarre: For Rebellion’s Sake

Jean-Michel Jarre moves from collaboration to solo work

Whether alone for 1977’s prayerfully, atmospherically melodic, multiplatinum Oxygène and its follow-ups (including his recent Oxygène 3) or his collaborative Electronica series of 2015 and 2016, classical pianist-turned-synthetic-godhead Jean-Michel Jarre is a man fond of sequels. “I love the George Lucas idea where a cinematic story is written as a series; not only those in the future but prequels,” says Jarre. “Maybe I try that next: musical prequels.”

Experimentation is Jarre’s stock-in-trade. Rather than make electronic music that stands as a still life—distanced, cool and removed—this son of a French Resistance-fighting mother and a father in the business of composing Hollywood soundtracks (Maurice Jarre) has always forged electronically induced (or rather, seduced) muzik that gets up close and heated in a clinch; “sensualist, as in sex, taste, touch,” he says quietly.

Beyond that, another thing that holds true for the keyboardist/sequencer is that he’s game to try anything, like the vivid, beyond 3-D visuals (“the usual 3-D of film and funny cardboard glasses is boring”) that will accompany his current tour; or pairing Oxygène 3 with its equally moody predecessors for a new vinyl boxed set (“That album, made at a time of rebellion, still speaks to me,” says Jarre of the original); or, gathering electronic contemporaries (“Please, make that heroes,” he says, “inspirations, even the younger ones, especially the younger ones”) such as old friend Laurie Anderson (“a true artist in every medium”), Gary Numan, Pete Townshend, Air, Erasure’s Vince Clarke, Armin van Buuren and more for the double Electronica sets. “We are all part of the same DNA,” he says of Electronica’s fellaheen.

Ask him about the move from the lonely and solitary to the globe-hopping, travel- bound collaborations that fill his dueling Electronica  albums, and Jarre says, “It’s not about age or time; rather, the collaboration— or communion—I seek now relates back to when I was with dozens of other crazy kids in France working on bizarre machines. For me, it was like the student revolution that ran wild throughout the ’60s: against the political system, against everything. Going electronic, for us, was a way of railing against the system, against classical traditions in music. Even the establishment of rock was fair game—especially that.”

Rather than merely rebel for rebellion’s sake, Jarre went one step further—just as he does on Oxygène 3. He relies on simple, intense, richly contagious melody, rather than rhythm and tone, rather than timbre, to make his beauty mark. “I wanted to make the sound of the wind, the sound of the rain,” he says. “I was working as would a painter but with melody, the song, being a large part of my palette. I am obsessed by melody—the idea that I could experiment with both space and noise, along with melody. This is crucial, to be able to sing out.”

Creating the abstract and the direct is key to Jarre’s work—not just with his Oxygène records, with their numerical titles, or his Electronica albums, but with everything in between, such as his epic series of live recordings in China, his avant-punky Zoolook of 1984, his  often  operatic concerts (“Less is more  now,”  he  says of his 2017 excursion) and such.

“All that I have done, just go far beyond Jarre,” he says with a laugh.

Vive la révolution.

—A.D. Amorosi

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From The Desk Of Glenn Morrow: Jackie DeShannon’s “Everytime You Walk In The Room”

Glenn Morrow is a Hoboken, N.J., music treasure. He owns the influential 31-year-old Bar/None label (Yo La Tengo, They Might Be Giants, Feelies, dB’s, Of Montreal). His bands, such as the Individuals and “a,” have helped put the Mile Square City on the indie-rock map for equally as long. His latest project is Glenn Morrow’s Cry For Help, which has a new self-titled album. Morrow will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Morrow: Speaking of Boo & Elena, they’ve been running a series of benefits at Guitar Bar Jr. for various causes. Glenn Morrow’s Cry For Help played one for Planned Parenthood recently, and we worked up a version of “When You Walk In The Room,” written and originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon. I read somewhere that her version came out in 1963 on the heels of the success she had covering Sonny Bono’s “Needles And Pins.” I suddenly realized the distinctive 12-string guitar part pre-dated both the Beatles and the Byrds, forays into similar territory (think “Daytripper” and “Turn Turn Turn”). A little research turned up an interview where Jackie says she wrote the lick but got Glen Campbell to play it on the session. I’d say that was the birth of folk rock right there. Let there be jangle.

Video after the jump.

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Essential New Music: Sun Ra And His Arkestra’s “Thunder Of The Gods”

It’s only appropriate. Some long-lost/for- gotten space-age recordings left behind by avant-garde jazz boffin Sun Ra are finally unearthed, and we dutifully listen. The most noteworthy of the three “new” tracks provided here is a lengthy live performance of “Calling Planet Earth—We’ll Wait For You,” probably recorded in 1971 at Slug’s Saloon in NYC. This tune captures Ra’s formidable Arkestra bursting at the seams, including squalling saxophones, the knowing vocals of Ms. June Tyson, high-velocity improvisation, slow serious arrangements and a synthesized sonic maelstrom to boot. The two other tracks included here are less essential, consisting of droning tones and percussion interludes, with Ra leaving his musicians to scratch away at the various stringed instruments that they’d picked up on the road. This particular free-jazz conception was accomplished to greater effect on Ra’s 1966 recording, Strange Strings, but it’s nice to appreciate the freedom one more time.

—Mitch Myers

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