From The Desk Of The Psycho Sisters: List For A Sunday

Vicki Peterson (lead guitarist of the Bangles) and Susan Cowsill (with her family’s band the Cowsills since the age of eight) are currently tilling the fields as the Psycho Sisters, and it’s given them rare perspective on making music that many lesser talents would lack. Their debut album, Up On The Chair, Beatrice is out now via the RockBeat label. Peterson and Cowsill will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with them.

Sunday

Peterson:
• Fireflies in Central Park
• The speedy healing of two sprained fingers
• A day away from home when neither my husband nor I have a show to do
• Brickwork on old buildings
• Discovering a new favorite wine varietal (arneis)
• Delicious tap water
• Meeting our daughter’s boyfriend (and really liking him)
• Men’s wristwatches
• When Mars looks as though it’s sitting right on top of the half moon
• Tacos vegetables at Rosa’s Mexicana
• A neighbor who, unbidden, waters my wilted plants while I’m away
• Hummingbird Happy Hour

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MP3 at 3PM: Emily & The Complexes

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Ohio’s Emily & The Complexes started when singer/songwriter Tyler Verhagen hitch-hiked across the country for two years instead of following his friends to college. It was on this trip that the songs for the band’s newest EP were written. After the addition of Jordan Finke, Tom Konitzer and Brett Gregory, the band is ready to release Dirty Southern Love. “You Won’t,” one of the tracks off the five-song EP, is an emotionally charged rock hit. Mellow passages transform into heavy, polished garage rock and then sink back again, forming a fluid and catchy tune. Download the track below.

“You Won’t” (download):

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From The Desk Of The Psycho Sisters: The Crescent City

Vicki Peterson (lead guitarist of the Bangles) and Susan Cowsill (with her family’s band the Cowsills since the age of eight) are currently tilling the fields as the Psycho Sisters, and it’s given them rare perspective on making music that many lesser talents would lack. Their debut album, Up On The Chair, Beatrice is out now via the RockBeat label. Peterson and Cowsill will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with them.

CrescentCity

Cowsill:
It is where I live
Where I raise my children
Where I found my last love
A place I go to feel the old ways
A city that will chain your soul to its streets and never let you go
A home you take with you when you leave
A home that will be waiting for you when you return
It is where I live
It is where I will always live
In my heart

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Film At 11: Sunset Valley

Portland indie rockers Sunset Valley are back from the ’90s with a new video for crunchy song “Jackass Crusher.” MAGNET is honored to premiere the video, which, like the song, is a fun trip through rock ‘n’ roll heaven, as kids seem to have taken over an empty island. A secret tape is found hidden in the sand, but that’s not the only secret the island holds. Check out the video below.

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From The Desk Of The Psycho Sisters: It’s Hot (Eat Salad)

Vicki Peterson (lead guitarist of the Bangles) and Susan Cowsill (with her family’s band the Cowsills since the age of eight) are currently tilling the fields as the Psycho Sisters, and it’s given them rare perspective on making music that many lesser talents would lack. Their debut album, Up On The Chair, Beatrice is out now via the RockBeat label. Peterson and Cowsill will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with them.

Salad

Peterson:
Romaine and cucumber salad with tahini dressing

Yield: makes four servings

For tahini dressing:
1/4 cup well-stirred tahini (Middle Eastern sesame paste)
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mild honey
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

For salad:
1/2 pound romaine, torn into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
1 bunch radishes (1/2 pound), trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced (1 cup)
1/2 seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Make dressing:
Blend all dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth. (If desired, blend in more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to thin dressing.)

Make salad:
Toss together all salad ingredients in a large bowl with just enough dressing to coat.

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MP3 At 3PM: Futurebirds

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Athens, Ga.’s Futurebirds are teaming up with Jittery Joe’s Coffee to create Baba Java, a new coffee blend. In celebration, the band is releasing an EP under the same name, also a clever pun on past album titled Baba Yaga. The EP includes two unreleased songs, one demo and one cover, all recorded during (or for) the Baba Yaga sessions. R.E.M.’s “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” has the same old twang and country Futurebirds fans know and love. Download the track below.

“(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” (download):

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Live Review: Kate Bush, London, England, Aug. 27, 2014

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Long before there was Björk, Cocteau Twins, Tori Amos or Bat For Lashes, there was Kate Bush. For the uninitiated, Bush has fashioned a four-decade career as a true musical original—a bloody-minded British eccentric right out of the Syd Barrett/Monty Python/Julian Cope handbook, hell-bent on pursuing her own muse to the exclusion of nearly everything else going on around her, pop or otherwise. Back in the day, Bush objected to being objectified (criticizing her record label for marketing her as “a female body … rather than an artist in a female body”) and was the first woman to pen her own U.K. number-one hit (“Wuthering Heights”), winning her a fanbase that came to include artists as diverse as Johnny Rotten, Tricky, Outkast’s Big Boi and Rufus Wainwright. To put it in modern terms: Kate Bush is a pop/rock OG, equal parts King Crimson (prog) and David Bowie (glam/wave), with a back catalog to rival that of anyone making music over the past 50 years.

Somehow, along the way, Bush had managed to stay mostly out of the live performance business since 1979 before announcing a spate of shows in London entitled “Before The Dawn.” This news encouraged an enthused (mostly) British public to promptly purchase more than 77,000 tickets in a mere 15 minutes to a series of 22 consecutive gigs at the Eventim Apollo (the Artist Formerly Known as Hammersmith Odeon), with ticket prices on the black market fetching nearly 2000 GBP. The fact that Bush’s last proper tour took place in spring of 1979—and that rumors had since made the rounds of a crippling fear of flying, the almost manic need for Bush to control every aspect of her career, or that the death of her lighting engineer at one of her gigs had severely affected her ability or desire to play live again (with the benefit for the family subsequently scheduled for the very same venue she was playing this evening)—has only generated the sort of anticipation that one associates with An Event, A Moment, a Bucketlist Item.

Tonight’s show was only the second of these gigs, so the wide-eyed wonder of seeing an artist both remarkably ahead of her time and so famously reclusive hadn’t yet worn off, with news crews wandering around in front of the venue interviewing fans, hangers-on and those who (like me) had traveled long distances to catch one of these shows while Bush was still in the mood to perform. And perform, she did—a three-hour set in which an energized Bush recreated the second side of her 1985 classic LP Hounds Of Love (the so-called “Ninth Wave” suite) and the second side of her 1993 album Aerial (the “Sky Of Honey” cycle) as separately imagined stage productions, with sets, costumes and lighting effects more akin to a West End play than a rock ‘n’ roll show. Bush’s vocal gift is an instrument neither ravaged by time nor age; her airy soprano soared as high tonight as it ever has, sure in pitch and rich in power. A devastating weapon perfectly deployed against a wide-ranging arsenal of material.

(Bush, via her website, had made an explicit request for tonight’s audience to “please refrain from taking photos or filming during the shows; I want very much to have contact with you as an audience not with iPhone or iPads or cameras” … Hence, the lousy picture accompanying this review. Normally, I would do better. But as it happens, when a British audience is asked to do something, and they love the person who asks them to do it, they comply fully and passionately—I wasn’t about to be the one person in the theater tonight kicked out or made a social pariah for abusing the rules … sorry, ya’ll).

Her performance kicked off with the voice of Miranda Richardson, from Bush’s 1993 album The Red Shoes, reading from the Sanskrit hymn Gayatri Mantra: “O Thou who gives sustenance to the universe, from Whom all things proceed, to whom all things return, unveil to us the face of the true spiritual sun hidden by a disc of golden light, that we may know the Truth and do our whole duty as we journey to thy sacred feet … ” And from the darkness of the stage marched Bush with her backup chorus in a line behind her, working her way through a series of old favorites (“Hounds Of Love” and “Running Up That Hill,” which to my ears remains one of the best songs ever written by anyone in any era) before closing out the final line to “King Of The Mountain” in a shower of confetti before segueing into a stage set approximating the watery shipwreck of “The Ninth Wave,” a harrowing, emotional journey populated by a psychedelic cast including dancers dressed as fish skeletons, seafarers in orange life jackets and Bush flipping between live appearance and filmed screen sequences (having spent three days in a flotation tank capturing these bits in partnership with Adrian Noble, the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, whose last night with the troupe was evidently this evening and was therefore given a warm sendoff by Bush at the break). The overall effect was somewhat akin to an acid trip—not unpleasant at all, but disorienting and jarring in parts, such as one scene in which an overhead lighting apparatus was made to stand in for a search-and-rescue helicopter, frantically seeking Bush’s drowning female character beneath the waves as her family is rescued in the meantime. At one point, the ghost of Bush repeatedly sang “I’m not here” to her family (Bush’s real-life son, Bertie McIntosh, featured heavily throughout the evening) and to the audience, seemingly taunting all concerned by pointedly stepping out of the narrative to remind us of her lengthy absence.

Following a raucous standing ovation and subsequent 20-minute intermission, the altogether different “Sky Of Honey” suite began, connecting birds and their seeming symmetry to light (up at dawn, asleep at dusk) to a 19th-century painter whose work goes maddeningly unfinished over the course of its 10 “movements” but nonetheless ends on an altogether more uplifting, life-affirming note—with Bush and McIntosh lifting off in flight as the suite closed, to dazzling effect. Between the costuming, imaginative use of puppetry and special effects, the suite far exceeded the limits it had been assigned on record, and Bush seemed genuinely moved by the rowdy, passionate reception given to her performance. So much so, that by the time she had returned for the encores—accompanying herself on piano for the remarkable “Among Angels” before bringing the band back for the crowd-favorite “Cloudbusting”—she was dancing barefoot in twirling circles with the audience doing its level best to imitate this step, in place, in their seats.

By any rational measure, 35 years seems entirely too long to wait to see live music performed by an artist who is so obviously among the most influential and important of the past two generations. I mean, entire lives can be altered and worlds can be rocked off their rotational axes over the course of that period of time. And yet—as I sit here attempting to describe for you the sheer joy I experienced watching Bush bring her music to life for an audience who, equally as clearly, could imagine doing nothing else but take it in, in rapt attention, for 180 straight minutes—it seems an entirely rational turn of events. Dearest Kate—let’s try not to wait so long, next time. We missed you too much. There is simply too much “there,” there.

—Corey duBrowa

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From The Desk Of The Psycho Sisters: The Sky And The Snow And Other Things

Vicki Peterson (lead guitarist of the Bangles) and Susan Cowsill (with her family’s band the Cowsills since the age of eight) are currently tilling the fields as the Psycho Sisters, and it’s given them rare perspective on making music that many lesser talents would lack. Their debut album, Up On The Chair, Beatrice is out now via the RockBeat label. Peterson and Cowsill will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with them.

SnowSky

Cowsill: When I was a young girl, I had the power to make it snow. It was uncanny! No sooner did I see those low lying smoky grey puffs of silence then I would start my chanting prayer, “It’s gonna snow, it’s gonna snow, it’s gonna snow,” and then, as if by magic, (cuz it was!), the flakes would begin to fall for all to see, worship and revel in, brought to you by little ole me! Sledding and no school was my gift to the neighborhood. One that I kept quite to myself so as not to boast! I felt like a secret super hero! Ladies and gentleman, introducing “Snow Girl.” I thought it had a nice ring to it!

In experiencing this miracle of making it snow, time and time again, I started to believe I could do anything I put my mind to. Through the years, I would rely on this mystical power of my own sheer will to get me through the toughest of circumstances and to help bring about the results I wanted, and way more importantly, the ones I needed. For instance, another one of my talents, which produced the remarkable effect of saving a perfectly horrible day, or week or even a whole year, was the simple act of “staring at the sky.” Sometimes I would do this for hours on end, which I believe to be the recipe for the saving of an entire horrible year, where as a mere glimpse at the sky at just the right disastrous moment could and did in fact save my very life! From time to time I still do it, with equally shinning results!

I should like to tell you of the data I have collected in regards to exponential results in levels of compassion, that simply sitting under a tree for 10 minutes can yield, but that is for another day.

There are secret things in this world that most of the time we cannot see or touch or hear, but we know without a doubt, they are there. There are “super powers” like faith and hope and belief. I for one would not be alive without them. The young girl in me knows still believes these secret powers to be real. See this life through the eyes of a child, and you have a much better chance of growing old.

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Film At 11: Ray & Remora

Ray & Remora’1994 features such covers as Pavement’s “Gold Soundz,” Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” and Dinosaur Jr.’s “Feel The Pain.” Now the L.A.-based duo has released a video for Superchunk’s “Like A Fool.” The clip takes place in an open field in the wilderness and features the two band members lighting fireworks and frolicking, as well as a dog licking peanut butter off of Rays face. Check out the video below. Says Ray of the song and clip, “Basically, we love Superchunk. The whole 1994 covers concept came after we recorded this version of “Like A Fool” from Foolish—an album I listened to obsessively when it came out in 1994. The Superchunk version just kills me every time I hear it. As for the video, well, I also really love my dog Whisky. For reasons I’m not sure I understand, I envisioned a video that was a full four minutes of Whisky licking peanut butter off of my face in super slow motion. Fortunately, Remora and director Jennifer Pearl (Visum Creatives) convinced me otherwise!” We are proud to premiere the clip today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it below.

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From The Desk Of The Psycho Sisters: Guiltless Pleasures

Vicki Peterson (lead guitarist of the Bangles) and Susan Cowsill (with her family’s band the Cowsills since the age of eight) are currently tilling the fields as the Psycho Sisters, and it’s given them rare perspective on making music that many lesser talents would lack. Their debut album, Up On The Chair, Beatrice is out now via the RockBeat label. Peterson and Cowsill will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with them.

Guiltless

Peterson: When I was a member of the Continental Drifters, we would sometimes play a game of “Guilty Pleasures,” in which we’d take turns revealing love for a potentially embarrassing song. It takes courage (sometimes of the liquid sort) to stand and declare how much you really, deep down, secretly love a song that you know for a fact is uncool. When a child, I’d been teased by my older sister and many others for being a Cowsills fan. I thought the sound of the sibling-blend harmonies they created was magical. If I’d been playing this game with any other group of people, I’d probably have to include a Cowsills song or two, but my Drifter cohorts were, like me, Cowsills aficionados, and so those songs didn’t qualify. There was no belittlement to be suffered from offering up “Beautiful Beige” or even “We Can Fly.”

John Denver was another story. My sister Pam had excoriated me for buying his records, too, but this time my bandmates seemed to agree. Except for Susan Cowsill. Years later, when Susan was preparing a solo set before a Bangles show in San Francisco, she debated whether or not to include Denver’s “Sunshine On My Shoulders.” Taking a quick survey in the dressing room, Susan found that both Susanna and I were behind her all the way, but my sister Debbi was completely disgusted. Susan ended up not playing the song that night, but I applauded her courage.

Guiltless Pleasures (or songs I am not ashamed to love):
Os Mutantes “Panis Et Circenses”
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Peter & Gordon “A World Without Love”
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The Cowsills “Poor Baby”
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The Left Banke “Walk Away Renee”
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