Happy Birthday Joan Jett

Happy birthday to Joan Jett. Read her MAGNET Q&A with Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! here.

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MP3 At 3PM: Tree Machines

Tree Machines are once again gracing our homepage with a new song, and this time it comes from debut full-length LP Up For Air (Man In The Machine), out September 22. “Fade On” is a big pop song with a bit of edge and a lot of soul, perfect for fans of Mutemath. Check it out below.

“Fade On” (download):

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Happy Birthday Nick Cave

Happy birthday to Nick Cave. Read our 2001 cover story here.

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Susanne Sundfør: Exit Music

Susanne Sundfør is waiting for the end of the world

Norwegian singer/songwriter Susanne Sundfør, despite the aforementioned label, doesn’t consider herself a musician. “I connect more with films than music, so for me, making an album is almost like making a movie,” she says. “Arranging a song is more about associations than composition. With the jazz outro of ‘Good Luck, Bad Luck,’ for example, I wanted to feel like I was in a bar, drinking a fancy drink and smoking cigarettes, looking at a band play softly while outside the world was coming to an end.”

Music For People In Trouble (Bella Union), Sundfør’s new album, is a meditation on heartache and mortality. She sings her songs in a quiet tone, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar and piano. The production is sparse, but at the end of many tunes, she segues into wordless, jazzy, ambient instrumental passages with hints of classical music. The tunes are world weary, shining out of the existential darkness to provide a spark of hope.

“I was tired after years of working hard on my music and having bad relationships on the way,” says Sundfør. “I felt like I was falling off a cliff, and there was no safety net. I hit rock bottom and wrote ‘Mantra,’ the first song on the record. The lyrics were my ground zero. I built myself up from there, through writing the music, doing therapy and traveling. What helped me most was being made aware of the lies I tell myself about my feelings and the world. It’s pretty awesome when you’re in the therapy room and you’re like, ‘Wait, that’s not true!’ Chains that have bound you down for years are suddenly gone—like ‘poof!’

“This is my effort to make an existential album. It’s a journey. I want people to come out on the other side feeling rejuvenated, ready for life again, ready for the challenges we face.”

j. poet

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From The Desk Of Tigers Jaw: “A Cast Of Kings”

Spin, Tigers Jaw‘s latest album, is a glowing set of pop/rock tunes that denotes a shift in the band’s timeline. As the first release for producer Will Yip’s Atlantic Records imprint Black Cement, Spin is Tigers Jaw at its most composed and polished. But Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh still build upon their penchant for dizzying, unexpected hooks and bare, honest songwriting. Tigers Jaw will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our Q&A with them.

Collins: As a Game Of Thrones enthusiast, just getting to watch an episode every week isn’t enough. A Cast Of Kings is a podcast hosted by David Chen (who hasn’t read most of George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire) and Joanna Robinson (who has read ALLall of George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire) where each week’s episode of Game Of Thrones is discussed and dissected, from episode highlights and plots to fan theories.

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Film At 11: Liam Gallagher

We can’t seem to get enough of former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher lately (you’ll see why very soon), so it’s only best we share with you his live video for “For What It’s Worth,” from new album As You Were (Warner Bros.). Recorded at Air Studios in London, the clip features Gallagher’s powerful vocals accompanied by his backing band and a small string ensemble. Watch it below. As You Were is out October 6.

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Happy Birthday Leonard Cohen

Happy birthday to Leonard Cohen. Read Father John Misty on Cohen in MAGNET here.

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MP3 At 3PM: Rotoscope

Rotoscope will release the Clean Lines EP on October 27. The title track is available below, a pulsing pop song that transitions from underwater electronic verses to a bright hook with surprising ease. Check it out below.

“Clean Lines” (download):

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The Back Page: Generation Ecch

When I decided I wanted to write something about millennial bands, the first thing I realized was that no one in millennial bands will read it. They also won’t give a ripe shit what I have to say.

That’s kind of liberating for a writer. But it’s also kind of depressing, since it leads to the main point I want make about millennial bands.

We should define terms here, I guess. By “millennial bands,” I don’t mean bands that were relevant and addressing important issues at the turn of the century. Wilco, Radiohead, even U2—plenty of bands would fit into that category (although, honestly, not as many as I would’ve thought five minutes ago.) But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

This is about bands that are made up of millennials, meaning people who have come of age since the year 2000. This generation is as widely discussed and as self-involved as the dreaded Baby Boomer generation. That is especially galling to people like me, who were born to boomers and who gave birth to millennials. We were known as Generation X for about 10 minutes, but no one ever talks about that anymore. We’re tweeners, caught between the two most self-involved generations in human history.

For us, rock ’n’ roll was important. It meant something. It was culturally defining. Disco and hip hop were seen as threats to its pre-eminence, which led to all kinds of weird pop cultural friction. By the rise of the millennials, those culture battles were long over with. Rock ’n’ roll didn’t mean a goddamn thing to the average millennial. It was just one current flowing into a culture that they decided they invented.

And that’s fine. For the first time in 50 years, the electric guitar was not a major cultural force for our millennial friends. They’re more moved by keyboards, the kind with 88 musical notes or 60-some alphanumeric figures on it. Give them pop, give them light hip hop. Give them EDM—please.

The classic lineup of four skinny guys with guitars lined up in front of one maniac with a drum kit—the building blocks of music for 50 years—looks silly to them. Like the Beets on the old Doug cartoons: a useless representation of a useless era.

If the rock band, with all of its inherent cool and powerful iconography, means nothing, what use can the rock critic have for a 28-year-old musician? And why would he or she even bother forming one of those silly rock bands in the first place?

Not to continue the fight in an ongoing cultural war between Us (rock ’n’ roll!!!) and Them (our parents, music contrived to be popular). It’s more like an expression of personal quirkiness. Some young folks devote themselves to fermenting foodstuffs, some to building apps, some to playing guitars and drums and bass in a band. They’re more like Civil War re-enactors than they’re a continuation of the rock tradition. And believe me, they don’t give a damn about the rock tradition. Or any other tradition, frankly.

That’s kind of what’s liberating about being a critic in these times. I’ve always been ambivalent about the title. Critic. It implies a kind of mean-spiritedness that I only occasionally feel toward musicians and songwriters. I enjoy sharing things I’m enthusiastic about more than I enjoy skewering people who I think are falling short. And if I hate it but someone else loves it, who am I to say they shouldn’t be listening to it?

I’ve occasionally pissed off or annoyed artists, sometimes artists I really enjoy or admire. It happens. I don’t particularly enjoy doing that, and I certainly don’t seek to do it. But it only happens because the artist buys into a paradigm where other people’s opinions mean something. And I just don’t think millennials buy into that paradigm, or any other paradigm.

What would the term “critic” mean to your average millennial? When has that millennial ever been subject to anything as harsh as criticism? This is a generation defined by participation trophies, by “Good job!” pats on the back. Why would they accept a kick in the ass from a stranger in a magazine or website? How would they even recognize one?

My sense of millennial bands is that they are formed by talented kids from the high-school band with supportive parents. And by supportive, I mean financially as well as artistically.

“You want to start a band? How nice! You need a nice new Gibson electric guitar and a Marshall amp and how about a nice drum machine until you make some friends with talent?! This’ll be fun. I’ll clear out the rec room so you can set up!”

Three days later, the kid is posting home-recorded songs on his or her Bandcamp page. A week after that, offers are coming in from indie labels run by doddering Gen Xers who haven’t heard or played a good song in 20 years. You think any of those people are concerned what a review might say? And who’s reviewing them, anyway? Some other millennial making a nickel a word from some shitty website, that’s who.

I think we’ve already pretty much established that what we think of as “rock music” is no longer living or breathing. It’s safe to say the idea of rock criticism died right along with it. Along come our millennial friends, making mostly shitty music in the same criticism-free environment they do everything else.

Lucky for them, I guess.

Phil Sheridan

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From The Desk Of Tigers Jaw: “The Chris Gethard Show”

Spin, Tigers Jaw‘s latest album, is a glowing set of pop/rock tunes that denotes a shift in the band’s timeline. As the first release for producer Will Yip’s Atlantic Records imprint Black Cement, Spin is Tigers Jaw at its most composed and polished. But Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh still build upon their penchant for dizzying, unexpected hooks and bare, honest songwriting. Tigers Jaw will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our Q&A with them.

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Walsh: This originally started as a public-access TV show but has grown into so much more. Chris Gethard gives a voice to the underdog. He tackles some important issues such as mental health and self expression in his show and always features great musical guests. Watch this show and embrace your inner weird.

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