From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: Valentine’s Day

Jessica Lea Mayfield joined her parents’ bluegrass band when she was eight. In her teens, she did some recording with her brother, privately releasing an album under the alias Chittlin’ in 2007. That led to recording with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and her official debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, which came out in 2008, when she was 19. That well-received album presented Mayfield as a moody, rootsy singer/songwriter of precocious talent, confirmed by its follow-up, 2010’s Tell Me, also produced by Auerbach. The new Make My Head Sing…(ATO) will surprise listeners who expect a third set of Americana-style folk rock. It’s a grungy power-trio album that places Mayfield’s calm voice in a squall of her electric guitar. Mayfield will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

VDay

Mayfield: I liked Valentine’s Day even when I was single. (It’s obviously better now that I have someone to spend it with, instead of crying into a large stuffed animal from my mom while eating pink and red M&M’s.) My two favorite colors are pink and red, and for one month outta the year everything is pink and red. It’s beautiful and amazing. And I buy tons of heart-shaped things when they go on clearance. I wish it could last forever.

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Normal History Vol. 265: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 29-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

An excerpt from Obliterating History – a guitar-making mystery, domination & submission in a small town garage, a novel by Jean Smith

Frank moved from New York City to Nazareth to take a job at the Martin guitar factory—and this just doesn’t make sense to the people of Nazareth. It’s backwards. People don’t move from New York to Nazareth. They just don’t.

Frank keeps quiet about his background, about being raised in a household devoted to art and creativity. His father was an ad agency art director and both parents painted professionally. Frank knows that there is nothing to be gained by telling regular people about how he grew up, about his parents’ studios and art openings—and how he used to give his father’s large abstract paintings their titles. It isn’t the kind of thing that’s going to help build friendships with the gun-toting, guitar-building rednecks of Nazareth. Frank has counted the gun-racks in the employee parking lot enough times to know that instigating a discussion on the differences between Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline would likely result in any number of years of razzing. And besides, he isn’t looking for new friends and he’s always been comfortable keeping secrets.

“I’ll Call You,” from The Observer (Kill Rock Stars, 2006) (download):

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From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: Guitar Pedals

Jessica Lea Mayfield joined her parents’ bluegrass band when she was eight. In her teens, she did some recording with her brother, privately releasing an album under the alias Chittlin’ in 2007. That led to recording with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and her official debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, which came out in 2008, when she was 19. That well-received album presented Mayfield as a moody, rootsy singer/songwriter of precocious talent, confirmed by its follow-up, 2010’s Tell Me, also produced by Auerbach. The new Make My Head Sing…(ATO) will surprise listeners who expect a third set of Americana-style folk rock. It’s a grungy power-trio album that places Mayfield’s calm voice in a squall of her electric guitar. Mayfield will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

Pedals

Mayfield: Excess and obsession are two phases I go through with everything I like in my life. Two years ago, I bought my first guitar pedal. It was an Electro Harmonix Memory Boy. Now I’m always swapping out pedals in my pedal board and changing things. I like to get stoned to the bone and mix and match different sounds. Buying them can become addicting. Like my Beanie Baby collection, except those don’t make cool noises when I step on them. I’ve gotten a few of the newer Electro Harmonix ones, some boss dudes, but I’m really into old, harder-to-find shit: original non-digital sounding guitar pedals. Guitar center tone can be a pet peeve of mine. I guess I’ve turned into a purist that way.

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Film At 11: The Both

The self-titled album from the Both (a.k.a. Aimme Mann and Ted Leo) is out now via SuperEgo Records. The duo just released a video for lead single “Milwaukee.” Watch it below.

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From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: Guns

Jessica Lea Mayfield joined her parents’ bluegrass band when she was eight. In her teens, she did some recording with her brother, privately releasing an album under the alias Chittlin’ in 2007. That led to recording with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and her official debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, which came out in 2008, when she was 19. That well-received album presented Mayfield as a moody, rootsy singer/songwriter of precocious talent, confirmed by its follow-up, 2010’s Tell Me, also produced by Auerbach. The new Make My Head Sing…(ATO) will surprise listeners who expect a third set of Americana-style folk rock. It’s a grungy power-trio album that places Mayfield’s calm voice in a squall of her electric guitar. Mayfield will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

Gun

Mayfield: Bang, bang, bang! It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten to shoot. We had a long brutal winter. It’s starting to warm up, and pretty soon I’ll be shooting at clay disks, and a target that looks like a dude, and paper plates … or whatever else my daddy sets out to shoot. I’ll like handguns, the 9mm and the 40. It’s also fun to shoot targets from a distance with a rifle. I love my shotgun, but I don’t like skeet shooting, though. I’m not very good at it, and my idea of fun with guns it’s pointing it towards the sun. I’ll state my quick opinion on how I wish gun laws could be: it should be similar to obtaining a driver’s license. You should get points if you are caught drunk while carrying or carrying where it’s not allowed, until like a drivers license, that right is taken away. It should be reciprocal state to state so people like touring musicians can carry them as well. Just my opinion.

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From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: Glitter Spray Paint

Jessica Lea Mayfield joined her parents’ bluegrass band when she was eight. In her teens, she did some recording with her brother, privately releasing an album under the alias Chittlin’ in 2007. That led to recording with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and her official debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, which came out in 2008, when she was 19. That well-received album presented Mayfield as a moody, rootsy singer/songwriter of precocious talent, confirmed by its follow-up, 2010’s Tell Me, also produced by Auerbach. The new Make My Head Sing…(ATO) will surprise listeners who expect a third set of Americana-style folk rock. It’s a grungy power-trio album that places Mayfield’s calm voice in a squall of her electric guitar. Mayfield will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

Glitter

Mayfield: I have a serious obsession with Krylon glitter spray paint. One of my favorite things in the world is glitter, and this stuff is rad. I have literally sprayed this shit on everything: my stairs, a guitar, guitar pedals, the fridge, lamp shades. Anyting.

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Film At 11: Hamilton Leithauser

Recently announcing the release of debut solo album Black Hours (out June 3), Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser just completed a video for “11 O’clock Friday Night” in anticipation. Check out the clip below

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From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: NASCAR

Jessica Lea Mayfield joined her parents’ bluegrass band when she was eight. In her teens, she did some recording with her brother, privately releasing an album under the alias Chittlin’ in 2007. That led to recording with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and her official debut, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, which came out in 2008, when she was 19. That well-received album presented Mayfield as a moody, rootsy singer/songwriter of precocious talent, confirmed by its follow-up, 2010’s Tell Me, also produced by Auerbach. The new Make My Head Sing…(ATO) will surprise listeners who expect a third set of Americana-style folk rock. It’s a grungy power-trio album that places Mayfield’s calm voice in a squall of her electric guitar. Mayfield will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.

NASCAR

Mayfield: As a kid I used to love to watch NASCAR races with my daddy. We had a dirt go-cart track in the front yard of our double-wide trailer. And a go cart that was painted like Jeremy Mayfield’s (no relation) K-Mart Car. All of this has probably lead to my intense desire to perform the National Anthem at a NASCAR race, or get a roll cage installed in my Mustang.

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MP3 At 3PM: Red Wanting Blue

RedWantingBlue

Red Wanting Blue just announced upcoming album Little America, arriving July 1. In anticipation of the release, the band has shared LP track “Black Canyon.” Download it below.

“Black Canyon” (download):

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Sleepyhead Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

Sleepyhead

MAGNET fave Sleepyhead formed in a basement of an NYU dorm in 1989. The indie-pop trio released its first single in 1991, followed by four albums. Sleepyhead is releasing long-time-coming fifth LP Wild Sometimes this month. We had the band make us a mix tape. Check it out below.

The Bevis Frond “The Garden Feature”
A friend of mine put the Bevis Frond’s “That’s Why You Need Us,” from 1997’s North Circular, on a mix tape for me some time in the late ’90s, which is the reason Sleepyhead started covering it in the first place. We decided to record it last year for the new album. Each of the last two Bevis Frond albums contains a song that was one of the best new songs I heard that year. On 2011’s The Leaving Of London, is was “Stupid Circle.” On 2013’s White Numbers, it was this track. Video

Deerhunter “The Missing”
Monomania is one of my favorite albums from 2013, and this song just swirls around inside my head every time I hear it. Video

Fairport Convention “Tale In Hard Time”
Is it really possible that What We Did On Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking and Liege & Lief all came out in the same year, 1969? That is just crazy. This song just rocks. Video

Judee Sill “That’s The Spirit”
I really really love Judee Sill’s first two records, released on Asylum in the early ’70s. This is the first track from her “lost” third album, which didn’t see the light of day until three decades after the tracks were originally recorded, and long after her death in 1979. It was released by Water Records as a two-disc set in 2005, including demos and lovely packaging. Jim O’Rourke’s mix is phenomenal. I know many Sill fans will disagree, but if I could only listen to one of her records for the rest of my life, this would be the one. Luckily, I don’t have to choose. Full of beauty, sadness, and joy. Video

Terry Reid “Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace”
The Cheap Trick version is also fabulous, but I’ve really been feeling the original lately. Video

Antietam “Numbered Days”
Tara Key is a brilliant guitarist and songwriter, and Antietam is a fiery live band that everyone should see at least once before they leave this world! This is the first track from the excellent-all-the-way-through Tenth Life, which was released in 2011. We were labelmates on Homestead in the ’90s and are thrilled to be labelmates with them again on Carrot Top in 2014. Tara’s talents extend to the visual arts—she did the cover for the new Sleepyhead album. Video

The Incredible Casuals “Your Sounds Yourself”
The best place to see a band is, without a doubt, The Beachcomber in Wellfleet, Mass. (I was born and raised on Cape Cod, and I will admit some bias here.) It is a former lifeguard station nestled at the top of a sand dune overlooking Cahoon Hollow Beach and the open Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, you can see Spain, just north of the Portuguese border. Kidding. Since 1980, the Incredible Casuals have played The Beachcomber every Sunday from Memorial Day though Labor Day. Their shows are joyous celebrations of rock ‘n’ roll, loud and full of life. Kooky people dance and sing along. Every song they play sounds like the best song you’ve ever heard. I really don’t know how they do it. This song, written by guitarist Aaron Spade, always seems to bring the house down live. The past few years has seen them pare down their schedule to a handful of summer Sundays at The Beachcomber, but you are in for a treat if you can make it to one of their shows. Video

Otis Redding “The Match Game”
This is from the posthumously released album Tell The Truth. I have always loved this album, and this song in particular. It may be my very favorite Otis Redding recording. The little piano riff is sublime. Video

The Only Ones “Miles From Nowhere”
The studio version from Even Serpents Shine is excellent, but I think I like this version from the Peel Sessions more, if that’s even possible. “I used to reach for the stars, but now I’ve reformed.” Indeed. Video

The Neighborhoods “Prettiest Girl”
Just in case you’ve never heard this. You’re welcome. Video

Pretty Things “Grass”
I am “regifting” here. A friend made me a mix tape (yes, an actual cassette!) some time in the early ’90s that included this song, and I was hooked. Video

Scrawl “Ready”
These Columbus, Ohio, legends were always a band that you would just automatically, without a single second thought, go to see every time they played in your town. If they played in Boston tomorrow, you would find me there. Sleepyhead has covered this song a few times over the years. Video

NRBQ “It Was An Accident”
After “Ready,” it seemed like this mix needed something a little more bouncy. One of my all-time favorite bands. Video

Animal Collective “Applesauce”
Animal Collective has nothing in common with NRBQ, but they also happen to be one of my favorite bands. Album after album, they create rich, gorgeous, exciting music that rewards repeated listening. Video

Gillian Welch “Hard Times”
Every time I see them play, my breath is taken away. The Harrow & The Harvest is a stunning album from beginning to end. Watching David Rawlings play the guitar makes me want to quit my job and play guitar all day. Or just quit playing the guitar altogether and leave it to him. Video

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