From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: Animal Companionship

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.

AnimalCompanionship

Mayfield: I have a hard time relating to other people. I was home schooled and have been a touring musician since I was eight years old. Our family has always helped and supported each other. Socializing with humans has never been my specialty, and when I’m in a group of people I feel normal until they start asking questions about me. They are gonna figure out that I’m weird. and that I can’t relate to them on a variety of levels. I make much deeper connections with animals. Nine times out of 10 if I met a person with a dog, I would remember the dog’s name before I remembered theirs. I rarely forget an animal I meet, and in fact, I prefer them to people.

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Movie Review: “Noah”

Noah

As a public service, MAGNET occasionally feels obligated to issue a “crap alert” to warn citizens of a recent movie that might prove dangerous to their mental health. Consider this an ongoing form of vaccination to prevent a potentially hazardous film-going experience.

In a moment of post-Oscar desperation, I saw Noah yesterday at the local art house. It was way too long, with a few interesting moments, but not nearly enough to justify spending two-and-a-half hours of your life wading through it. Shot mostly in dim light in Iceland by Darren Aronofsky, it makes the volcanic landscape appear almost alien. I always appreciate Russell Crowe, but he was pretty one-dimensional in this one as Noah. Lots of mud in the face mixed with plenty of snot and sweat from the manual labor necessary to build a boat about the size of a modern cruise ship full of norovirus. That’s in stark contrast to his three young sons whose coifs and facial hair always appear to be freshly barbered. And the ladies, including Noah’s wife (Jennifer Garner), who manage to add touches of runway couture (scarves tossed over bias-cut necklines) to their simple garments. Even the bible-belters will have a tough time swallowing the part where Noah and his family are taken under their collective wing by a couple dozen 30-foot tall “watchers,” who, it says here, were once angels who failed in their mission and were turned into “rock people” by the Big Guy. Nobody utters the Thing’s signature line, “It’s clobbering time!” but who knew God worked for MARVEL comics back then? These protectors are now clumsy (but likable) behemoths who pulverize any of the hordes of bad guys aiming to sabotage Noah’s mission, which he interprets as exterminating the last of the human race, including his family, after saving all the planet’s lovable lower species from the deluge in his wooden ark. I would have re-named the movie Power Trip: It’s Not Easy Being Dad and found a place, maybe, for Adam (the name works here) Sandler to lighten things up just a bit. Wonder if the cool new pope has anything to say about this one. Utterly missable, says I.

—Jud Cost

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From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: Painting

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.

Painting

Mayfield: Visual art has always been a secondary outlet for me. Except unlike music, until recently I’ve almost kept my paintings secret. Art, audible and visual has always been something I do for myself. The shit I paint is mixed-media folk art. People refer to them as looking like cartoons or monsters. I’ve had people make fun of them, but that hasn’t stopped me from using them for album artwork and shirts and the like. In a similar way to songwriting, I see something in my head, and it won’t leave until I get it out and someplace else. I have to get it off my brain.

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Film At 11: The Shoe

Jena Malone and Lem Jay Ignacio make up the Shoe. Malone has been acting for 19 years, appearing in films like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Donnie Darko. Ignacio has made music with different artists including Zooey Deschanel. Check out the duo’s new video for “Dead Rabbit Hopes” below.

YouTube Preview Image
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From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: Getting All Dolled Up

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.

DolledUp

Mayfield: I used to cry about being a little girl. I was mad I wasn’t a little boy. I was attracted to men and looked up to them. Looking good involved taking a shower and putting on cowboy boots. It always seemed like my mom and sister would put so much work into their appearance. I can remember the high bangs and the crunchy sweet smell of hairspray. I wanted to drive all over the country, I wanted to be a musician and play guitar. I wanted to grow up fast. At the age of seven I was mad I wasn’t Dave Grohl. I fought the “little girl stuff” hard. It wasn’t until my early 20′s I realized getting all dolled up is fun. And applying make-up is now one of my hobbies. It’s like art on my face, and I like to think I’m good at it. Also, there is no such thing as “boy stuff” and “girl stuff”; that was a myth, I just wish little-girl me would have known back then like I do now. That there are no boundaries to what one is capable of.

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MP3 At 3PM: Bonsai

Bonsai

From her self-titled debut EP, Bonsai has released single “I Fashion You’re A Dreamer.” The five-track EP brings together multiple genres and her angelic voice. Download “I Fashion You’re A Dreamer” below.

“I Fashion You’re A Dreamer” (download):

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From The Desk Of Jessica Lea Mayfield: Being Outside

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.

BeingOutside

Mayfield: I had to do community service in my late teens (underage drinking). The work I did was for Kent Parks And Recreation. I got to see and learn much more about the local parks and wildlife. Since the town folk here don’t really understand me (or care to), when the weather is warm enough that my fur son won’t get frostbite on his paws. You can find our little family in one of the three parks by our home. There is something mentally clarifying about being outside, and I am welcomed by my friends: the shiny metallic headed ducks floating down the Cuyahoga River. (Interesting fact: The Cuyahoga River was once one of the most polluted rivers in the United States. It has even caught on on fire several times.)

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Jessica Lea Mayfield: Alternative Medicine

JessicaLeaMayfield

Lapsed folkie Jessica Lea Mayfield finds a new muse in ’90s grunge

Although she’s been performing for two-thirds of her 24 years, Jessica Lea Mayfield is starting over with third album Make My Head Sing…(ATO).

Mayfield joined her parents’ bluegrass band when she was eight. In her teens, she sang Foo Fighters covers at coffeehouses in and around her home of Kent, Ohio, and 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.

But then Mayfield became disillusioned.

“I was touring for Tell Me, and in one of the most awkward stages of my life,” says Mayfield. “The age when everyone doesn’t really know who they are, when you’re in your early 20s. I was out there, and I had to kind of front. I didn’t even know what kind of clothes I liked to wear, but I was out there every single night, just trying to be myself and not even really sure who that was. It just got real tiring. I realized at one point that this isn’t the kind of music that I would put on and listen to.”

Mayfield considered giving up on music altogether. She married fellow musician Jesse Newport, and they settled in Kent. Newport was eager was to record with her, but she had little interest.

“We got married, and I was on the downspin from Tell Me,” she says. “He was like, ‘Let’s just record for fun,’ and I would be like, ‘I fucking hate music. I don’t want to play anymore. I give up.’ I want to have an old folks’ home for animals, anything. I was so done. I was so fucking bored. I like all kinds of music, but I took the wrong pill or something and went down the folk alley. Now I feel like this record is the first record that I ever made. I started really getting into playing guitar, and the record kind of just wrote itself.”

Make My Head Sing… will surprise listeners who expect a third set of Americana-style folk rock. Produced by Mayfield and Newport, it’s a grungy power-trio album that places Mayfield’s calm voice in a squall of her electric guitar. The crackling, distorted guitar line of “Oblivious” opens the record, and it sounds like a declaration of purpose: This is hard rock, not Americana. Although it includes a few restrained moments that recall her past work—the reverberating “Standing In The Sun,” wistful love song “Seein* Starz”—the dominant tone is heavy and aggressive.

“What got me into music was ’90s alternative, bands like the Stone Temple Pilots,” says Mayfield. “I never got big into learning all the guitar tones that I loved so dearly, but now I’ve realized that I can make those sounds in my pajamas in my house, and it’s really become a passion of mine and something I really fucking love.”

She calls the album “a tribute to what I sit around and listen to.” The reference points are bands such as Soundgarden, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nirvana and Foo Fighters. Without slavishly imitating them, Mayfield has mastered their visceral energy and metallic power chords. It’s also ominous and eerie on songs like “Party Drugs,” the first she recorded for the album, which she calls, “just me and guitar and getting into making things sound fucked up.”

Mayfield still professes a fondness for the old-time country of Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb, but claims, “there’s not a lot of new music that I like.” She’s a purist and has little patience for electronics.

“I get so pissed off when I go out, if I’m watching a band at a festival and I hear things that I don’t see onstage,” she says. “I don’t want to hear this magical computer shit. I just want to see a band: I want to go to a show and I want to see a fucking band.”

For this record, Mayfield also wanted to be in control, to be the one taking the chances and making the decisions, to create something that reflected who she is now.

“I’m not going sing about the shit that a teenage girl would sing about—I’ve got to make something that’s a little more coherent with my life,” she says. “I turned 24 years old in August. This is the year I’ve figured out that life is about working hard and enjoying the work that you do. If you’re not doing those two things, then you’re doing something wrong.”

—Steve Klinge

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From The Desk Of OFF!: Potbelly Sandwich Works

Some artists deal with the subject of mortality in delicate, reflective brushstrokes. OFF! bandleader Keith Morris confronts it roughly the same way a hungry pit bull meets a T-bone steak—with fang-gnashing ferocity. To wit: multiple compressed assaults from the band’s new sophomore salvo, Wasted Years (Vice). Because, at 58, the Circle Jerks/Black Flag vet (who still maintains a spin-off combo dubbed Flag) has faced his own frailties, overcome most of them, and simply accepted—then soldiered on—with the rest. Morris, guitarist Dimitri Coats, bassist Steven Shane McDonald and drummer Mario Rubalcaba will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on them.

Potbelly

Rubalcaba: I had my first Potbelly experience when I lived in Chicago and they only had one store. They slowly started to franchise in Illinois and then outward thru the midwest. I love this spot. A great toasted sammie is gold to this gullet, and fuck Quizznos!!! Potbelly does it right!!!
I highly recommend the Italian or the tuna. Mmmmm … My dream is that they open up a location here in San Diego one day  or that they see this here post and give me a lifetime pass to Potbelly heaven. Go check them out.

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From The Desk Of OFF!: Guided By Voices

Some artists deal with the subject of mortality in delicate, reflective brushstrokes. OFF! bandleader Keith Morris confronts it roughly the same way a hungry pit bull meets a T-bone steak—with fang-gnashing ferocity. To wit: multiple compressed assaults from the band’s new sophomore salvo, Wasted Years (Vice). Because, at 58, the Circle Jerks/Black Flag vet (who still maintains a spin-off combo dubbed Flag) has faced his own frailties, overcome most of them, and simply accepted—then soldiered on—with the rest. Morris, guitarist Dimitri Coats, bassist Steven Shane McDonald and drummer Mario Rubalcaba will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on them.

GuidedByVoices

Morris: I hit a wall as to what or who to write about next, but I looked up from my laptop and was immediately drawn to the Guided By Voices at the Fillmore in San Francisco poster hanging on the wall in front of me. Not to get all hippy dippy, but the flow of my universe chose my final subject for me: the songwriting genius of Robert Pollard and his varying cast and crew of musical compadres, GBV. I grew up in various cities in L.A. Count, and a common thread was the availability of insanely great music presented to us via AM radio in the ’60s and FM radio in the ’70s. This included the hits and best of Stax Records with the likes of Otis Redding, Sam And Dave, the Motown Records artists being the Four Tops, Temptations, Supremes, Smokey Robinson And The Miracles and Stevie Wonder. There were bands that came down out of Laurel Canyon:  Buffalo Springfield, Love, Byrds, Doors. And over from Topanga Canyon: Spirit, Canned Heat and a few others. There were also some garage bands including the Seeds and the Standells, and we also had the happening sounds of the British Invasion: the Who, Kinks, Hollies, Zombies, Yardbirds, Rolling Stones, Animals, Beatles and more. These bands had something taking place that I’d bet my life savings on they would lay the foundation and draw up the blueprint for what goes on with the GBV guys from Dayton, Ohio. When I listen to them I certainly hear bits and pieces of the Who and the Kinks but done in a way that’s completely theirs. I also hear influences from the ’70s ranging from Cheap Trick, Foreigner, Big Star, Boston, R.E.M., Electric Light Orchestra to Kansas, Buzzcocks, Descendents and Styx. Now a few of these groups might not register on yer’ earth shattering rawk radar, but that’s totally cool ’cause some of this tuneage is an acquired taste or noise you’d dig out of yer’ parents record stash. As for GBV, if you’ve never listened to them the best recording to start with would be 1994′s Bee Thousand. “I Am A Scientist” and “Tractor Rape Chain” are pop gems that rank up there with almost anything by the Beatles and any of their contemporaries. Some of my other GBV faves are “I Am A Tree,” “Bulldog Skin”, “Not Behind The Fighter Jet” and “Jane Of The Waking Universe” off of 1997′s Mag Earwhig!. “Auditorium,” “Motor Away” and “My Valuable Hunting Knife” from Alien Lanes, which was released in 1995. “The Official Ironmen Rally Song” with “Lord Of Overstock” and “Underwater Explosions,” which are tracks on 1996′s Under The Bushes Under The Stars. And if you even care, you’ll notice that these songs and albums are all from the ’90s. Remember that GBV has released 22 albums and Robert Pollard has released 21 albums, so these songs i’ve mentioned are only the beginning!

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