From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slapstick”

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

KurtVonnegut

Showalter: This is my favorite book ever. I could write pages and pages about it, but I won’t. Honestly, I need to pack the van and get my ass to a show. Trust me. Read it. Hi ho.

Video after the jump.

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In The News: Lucinda Williams, Pissed Jeans, Stuart Murdoch, Game Theory, Sloan And More

LucindaWilliams

The first-ever double album by Lucinda Williams, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, will be issued by her Highway 20 Records on September 30 … On October 7, Sub Pop will reissue Shallow, the 2005 debut album from Pissed JeansRobyn, Sufjan Stevens, Hot Chip, Blood Orange, Phosphorescent and more contributed to Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell. Due out October 21 from Yep Roc, the two-disc/three-LP set contains 26 tracks paying tribute to the late Russell … God Help The Girl is a new musical feature film directed by Belle And Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, set for a theatrical release September 5 from Amplify. The soundtrack, which features tracks by Murdoch and sung by the cast, will be available from Milan Records on September 2 … This fall, Jackson Browne will kick off a full-band tour in the U.S. and U.K. in support of new album Standing In The Breach, which will be available October 7 …. Omnivore Recordings will launch a series of expanded reissues from Game Theory’s catalog on September 2 with the release of 1982 album Blaze Of Glory … In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA, a tribute album featuring stripped-down covers of the original tracks will be released September 16. Dead Man’s Town features contributions from Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Blitzen Trapper, Trampled By Turtles, Low and more … The 11th studio album from Sloan, Commonwealth, will be released September 9 via Yep Roc … The Bad Plus has announced the August 26 release of Inevitable Western.

—Emily Costantino

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From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: The Last Minute Of “The Sopranos” Episode “Join The Club”

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

TheSopranos

Showalter: The apex of the visual form called television. Tony sitting on the bed staring to a distant light. All of his masculinity dismantled. I’m crying right now. Then the hushed fade in of Moby’s “When It’s Cold I Like To Die” washes over the scene and completely devastates my shit. I have faith in humanity if we are still able to create such beauty. I recently watched this Sopranos episode for the first time since James Gandolfini passed away, and it was just too much to handle.

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: Getting A Late-Night Call From Joe Pug

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

JoePug

Showalter: Joe Pug is one of my top humans ever. He took me on my first real tour, and we had some fucking crazy adventures. We spent more than three months in a van with one another, and I’d do anything to get that time back. Even if that can’t happen, we still have these epic late-night phone calls. I’m on my porch in Philly, he’s on his porch in Austin, and we probably consume a case of beer each during the talk. Listen to him sing “Hymn 101,” and you’ll know how lucky I am to have him as a friend.

Video after the jump.

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Normal History Vol. 278: 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 30-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

[continued from last week]

He says, “You could have just emailed back to say that I was too good looking or something.” This is supposed to be funny. I come around out of the twist and make a gesture as if to say, “Right, I could have done that.” But he isn’t handsome. He’s pudgy with white hair and he’s quite old and I’m not attracted to him—plus, I’ve seen him in his saggy swim-trunks and he’s covered in thick black hair. Arms, shoulders, back, etc. Regardless, I’m not attracted to him, and he’s selfish and rude.

I was thinking, “It isn’t my job to make sure you feel OK about being rejected.” When women do this, it is typically to avoid further problems—threats, intimidation—guys blaming them for what they feel.

I said something about it not being much fun on my side of things—writing an email saying I don’t want to go out with him.

I said, “Not answering you is how I chose to handle it.”

At this time, I started to get up, which I wasn’t planning on doing because I was in the middle of my 200 crunches and he was interrupting me. I wasn’t comfortable having a man standing over me, complaining about my behavior while I was sitting on the floor.

He said it was fine (again), but clearly it wasn’t fine and he’d come over to let me know this. I remained calm and said something like, “Oh well, these things happen when we’re all part of the same community.” Meaning: We are not alone here. I’m not isolated. I know people. People know who I am. There are avenues of resolution and accountability available to me.

He frowned and gave me his “I’m baffled by that comment” look. Again, I decided not to respond to him. Clearly, this guy was used to getting women to react.

[to be continued]

“Tolerate Me” from Mecca Normal (Smarten Up!, 1986; re-released by K, 1995) (download):

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From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: The National’s “Pink Rabbits”

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

TheNational

Showalter: The most important song for me in recent memory. A lot of music is great but not important. Listening to “Pink Rabbits” became mandatory for me. I would associate this song with my lost month or months last fall. I unfortunately discovered that drinking potato vodka alone with the only the National to keep you company can be dangerous. I would find myself talking with angels and other crazy shit when this song was on repeat. Then I realized I don’t have to get fucked up to love this record. This song saved me and destroyed me simultaneously.

Video after the jump.

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Film At 11: Brody Dalle

Singer/songwriter Brody Dalle, probably most famous either for being the singer/guitarist for punk band the Distillers or for being married to Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, is now doing her own solo project. Her debut album, Diploid Love, features a cool tune called “Don’t Mess With Me.” Take a peek at the video for the track below.

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From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: Berlin

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on him.

Berlin

Showalter: I travel all the time. I really love living in Philadelphia and have no intention of leaving anytime soon. But within the first hour of me being in Berlin, I instantly wanted live there. I have no idea why or what effect the city had on me, except that I felt at home. I spent a few days there a few weeks ago, and the urge was only growing stronger. The people, the vibe, the electronic music, the parks, the buildings, everything about this city seemed to be made for me. I would love to know if other people have this reaction.

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MP3 At 3PM: Ferrill Gibbs

FerrillGibbs

Ferrill Gibbs is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter from the south. The Mobile, Ala., native is releasing his debut album, Significant Trees, on August 12. Download a song from the LP, “The Happy Ones,” below.

“The Happy Ones” (download):

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Images From The MAGNET Turns 21 Anniversary Show Featuring Guided By Voices, Surfer Blood And Titus Andronicus

All photos by Steve Streisguth

Guided By Voices:
GBV1

GBV2

Surfer Blood:
Surfer1

Surfer2

Titus Andronicus:
Titus1

Titus2

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