Film At 11: Swearing At Motorists

Swearing At Motorists, the two-piece rock project formed by frontman Dave Doughman, prepares for the release of a new album, While Laughing, The Joker Tells The Truth (on Anton Newcombe’s A Recordings Ltd), in October. Until then, Doughman has dropped a video for “Academy Award For Best Actor In A Supporting Role.” It’s a short clip directed by Mike Postalakis (who has worked with Guided By Voices), clocking in at just more than a minute, and it’s pretty funny. Doughman dresses as a German version of Easy E with an NWA-style jacket as he pays respect to the Ohio hip-hop scene of his youth. We are proud to premiere the video today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out below.

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MP3 At 3PM: Brian Lopez

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Brian Lopez spent more than two years working on his next release, Static Noise, the follow-up to the singer/songwriter’s debut album, Ultra. The new LP takes a more direct rock ‘n’ roll route as opposed to his first record, and now he’s released the track “Mercury In Retrograde.” The song starts out pretty heavy with crunchy guitars, but it eventually evolves into a softer, more intimate affair as pianos join in and the vibe changes completely. Download it below.

“Mercury In Retrograde” (download):

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Abbie Barrett Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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Abbie Barrett is the core of her band Abbie Barrett & The Last Date, who have an album due for release this month. The music they play has a tough rock edge but also stays very pop oriented. Barrett’s voice and lyrics make the songs emotionally gripping, while the instrumentation make the music fun. Now, Barrett has made a mix tape for MAGNET. Check it out below.

CSNY “Country Girl/Whiskey Boot Hill/Down Down Down”
I’ve always been a fan of Neil Young. His music served as the soundtrack to my high-school years, and I think the way he writes song has influenced me the most—albeit somewhat subconsciously. He changes time signatures, he’s daring, and he doesn’t seem to give a fuck about what anyone else thinks of him! This song includes Crosby, Stills and Nash. It’s not my favorite Neil Young song—who can really choose?—but it tells an epic, sweeping story without ever leaving the confines of some bar (at least as pertains to the lyrics). In fact, it’s a three-part suite. (I read somewhere that Neil collects three separate royalties for the song. Not sure if that’s true, but I like the idea of him sticking it to the man.) Video

Syreeta Wright “Cause We’ve Ended Now As Lovers”
Jack Hamilton, our keys player, introduced me to this song, and it really defines what “captivating” means. The song moves so slowly, and both the music and Syreeta’s voice are so controlled, and yet it just crushes you with emotion. Syreeta sings about her ending marriage to Stevie Wonder—and yet he’s the songwriter and producer of this song. It’s a collaboration that’s so strange, sad and also wonderful. Video

Sly & The Family Stone “Que Sera”
Sly covering Doris Day. I will never not sing along to this song at full volume. Video

Radiohead, “Idioteque” (Live Version From I Might Be Wrong)
I heard this song playing in a Tower Records (remember those?), and I bought it on the spot. I hadn’t really listened to Radiohead at that point, but this song just grabbed me and took me down a Radiohead rabbit hole. Thom Yorke sings the shit out of every song, but here he gets particularly angsty and yarbly (is that a word?). It reminds me a little bit of Roger Waters, whom I also love for his yell-y (another new word) singing quality. Video

Feist “Secret Heart” (Ron Sexsmith Cover)
I became enamored with this particular performance of the song. I’m a huge fan of Feist. In general, she writes amazing hooks and melodies, without compromising her smart lyrics and down-to-earth production. With that said, she didn’t write this song (and I digress). But I love songs that go from quiet and sparse to rockin’. I’m really a sucker for it. It’s an old trick, and I embrace it every time. Video

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Wilco: Paternity Test

To celebrate our return to publishing the print version of MAGNET three years ago, we will be posting classic cover stories from that time all week. Enjoy. And order a copy of the issue here.

Wilco

Dad-rock isn’t a dirty word for Black Eyed Peas’ number-one fan, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. By Althea Legaspi

Tucked away on a side street by an industrial area in Chicago is the Hideout, where a capacity crowd turns up for Dan Sinker and some surprise guests. The man behind Punk Planet and the fake @MayorEmanuel Twitter account—which parodied real events surrounding Rahm Emanuel’s race for Chicago’s mayorship—is holding a release party for the book housing the tweets that became an Internet phenomenon. Sinker is among many excellent writers and poets reading their work. The real Mayor Emanuel shows up, does a quick handshake lap around the bar and disappears. But it’s another surprise guest who steals the show, thanks to a single tweet from eight months prior.

At the time, Wilco was performing a fundraising concert for the real Rahm Emanuel, during which the fake @MayorEmanuel tweeted, “Tweedy’s being pissy because he doesn’t want to play any Black Eyed Peas songs. What the fuck? People love that shit.” With some prodding from wife Sue Miller, the tweet inspired Jeff Tweedy’s surprise acoustic appearance at the Hideout. He takes the stage and irreverently performs “I Gotta Feeling,” “Rock That Body” and a spoken-word version of “My Humps” that is comedy gold. (Video from the show rightly makes the Internet rounds.)

Over the years, Wilco, primarily the vehicle for Tweedy’s songwriting, has been described as many things—from sincere, philanthropic and ever-evolving to seemingly less flattering descriptors like “hipster dad-rock” and “music for white people.” Goofy and comedic, however, are not the first words that spring to mind when describing Wilco and/or Tweedy.

“That’s something I think that’s frequently missed in people’s assessment of what the Wilco environment is like,” says Tweedy. “I think we have a lot of fun. Even the bad times that people talk about and are so well-documented, I guess, in the minds of our fans—I don’t have many memories of anything being really harrowing at all. I really think that one of the reasons we’ve been able to stick around so long and do what we do is there’s a real enjoyment—a true enjoyment—of it, and we’ve been fortunate to not have too many things interfere with that. Certainly in the last five years or so, things have been much easier. So, yeah, I don’t know; even recording really sort of melancholy-sounding songs, there’s been an overwhelming atmosphere of levity in the way we work together.”

The band has just issued its eighth studio LP, The Whole Love. It’s the first album Wilco has released on its own label, dBpm Records. After 17 years and several lineup incarnations, the current formation—Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Nels Cline, Patrick Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen—is unique for the Wilco camp.

“Well, it’s certainly longer than any one lineup, and I think it’s probably getting closer to longer than any of the other lineups combined,” says Tweedy. “Previous to (2009’s) Wilco (The Album), no other lineup had made two consecutive albums, and I guess, counting the live album (2005’s Kicking Television: Live In Chicago), we’ve made four now.”

Wilco’s storied past has been thoroughly documented in print and the 2002 film I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, where the relationship between Jay Bennett (who passed away in 2009) and Tweedy dissolved during the making of breakthrough album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But there’s a certain chemistry now that hasn’t been present before. “I guess you just have to spend less time talking about things and be just more able to go directly to something and intuitively know what each others’ strengths are,” says Tweedy. “And as far as what has contributed to the longevity and the chemistry, I don’t know; that’s a pretty intangible thing, chemistry is, but I could say I think that it’s a band full of people who are primarily appreciative and grateful, doing something that they love to do and having it support them and keep them alive. And I guess being a little bit older and not taking anything for granted, that helps everybody keep things in perspective … The petty squabbles that might plague a younger band don’t tend to enter into our politics.”

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Film At 11: Julian Casablanca + The Voidz

Julian Casablanca + The Voidz will release debut album Tyranny on September 23. In preparation, the band is now premiering a new video for “Human Sadness,” a track off the forthcoming album. No spoilers, but the clip captures human sadness in a very obscure way. Check it out below.

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MP3 At 3PM: HEYROCCO

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HEYROCCO, if not first noted for its moniker, may be noted for having a drummer named Taco and a bassist names Christopher Cool. But on top of everything, the band should be noted for its musical talent, which is made complete with the help of vocalist/guitarist Nate Merli. Together, the trio creates catchy rock ‘n’ roll that’s as smooth as is it heavy and pop-fueled. The South Carolina three-piece put out an album this past July and now has shared “Melt.” Download it below.

“Melt” (download):

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Vintage Movies: “All About Eve”

MAGNET contributing writer Jud Cost is sharing some of the wealth of classic films he’s been lucky enough to see over the past 40 years. Trolling the backwaters of cinema, he has worked up a list of more than 500 titles—from the silent era through the ’90s—that you may have missed. A new selection, all currently available on DVD, appears every week.

AllAboutEve

All About Eve (1950, 138 minutes)

As theater critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) dryly narrates the “overnight-sensation” aspect to the current deification of Broadway’s newest stage star, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), with her acceptance of this year’s Sarah Siddons Award, it would be all but impossible to miss the icy glare coming from Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Odd, one might think, since Margo was the person most responsible for Eve getting her foot in the door of this august Broadway company in the first place.

A year earlier, Karen Richards (Celeste Holm), the wife of the playwright for Channing’s current dramatic triumph, took pity on the poor, rain-soaked young girl, waiting every night at the stage door for her idol to appear. “What do you do in between the time Margo comes in and Margo goes out? Do you huddle in that doorway and wait?” asks Karen. Eve replies, “Oh no, I see the play.” Surprised, Karen asks, “You’ve seen every performance of this play? Don’t you find that expensive?” “Standing room doesn’t cost much. I manage,” answers the shy young girl.

Karen takes Eve inside out of the rain and introduces her to Margo as she’s applying facial cream in her dressing room. Barely glancing at the new arrival, Margo is already feeling her fast-approaching 40th birthday as if it’s the solitary headlight of a runaway locomotive bearing down on what remains of her acting career. Eve tells her idol that she’s seen every performance of Margo’s current smash, Aged In Wood, and the star immediately takes notice with just a hint of pity for this young kid.

“I became the secretary of a local brewery. When you’re the secretary of a brewery, all there is to your world is beer,” Eve replies when asked how she’s managed to arrive on the Great White Way from a modest Wisconsin upbringing. “It wasn’t much fun,” she continues, “but there was a little theater. It was like a drop of rain in the desert. We played Lilliom for three performances, and I was awful.” She wound up in San Francisco just in time to meet Eddie, her young husband, on leave from the Pacific Front in World War II, she continues. “That’s where I received the telegram, forwarded from the War Office, that Eddie had been killed in battle.”

Eve decided to stay in San Francisco. “One night, Margo Channing came to town to play in Remembrance, and here I am,” she says quietly to a small audience she already has wrapped firmly in the palm of her trembling hand. It’s the performance of a young lifetime. Before the evening is through, Margo will offer Eve a job as her personal assistant. But Eve has already parlayed her good fortune into a higher rung of the ladder, quietly contemplating how she might become Margo’s understudy.

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The xx: Back In Black

To celebrate our return to publishing the print version of MAGNET three years ago, we will be posting classic cover stories from that time all week. Enjoy. And order a copy of the issue here.

XX

Three years after its debut won the Mercury Prize and the hearts and minds of indie-dom—not to mention the likes of Drake, Shakira and Rihanna—London’s little band that could has released a new album of hushed, lovesick melodramas that are sure to play out in late-night teenage bedrooms around the globe. By Jonathan Valania

It is the tail end of another hot, dog-breath day afternoon in early August. Mercifully, we are on our way to some place that is, for one night anyway, cool: Staten Island. There are many locales that you might associate with the sound, the look and the vibe of the xx—London after dark, Tokyo circa Lost In Translation, Manhattan around midnight, capitals of cool each and every one—but Staten Island is most assuredly not one of them. There is nothing young or cool or stylish about Staten Island, which even residents refer to as “the forgotten borough.”

And yet here we are, standing on the deck of the Staten Island Ferry, motoring across the Hudson for a semi-exclusive audience with London’s black-clad indie-pop darlings, who are playing a hastily announced concert on the island that is Staten. Behind us, the Manhattan skyline recedes into the distance. Off the starboard bow, the sun dips behind the Statue of Liberty like a solar eclipse, giving Lady Liberty a corona of brilliant white light that sets the twilight reeling.

In advance of the release of Coexist, the xx’s much-anticipated follow-up to 2009’s beloved xx debut, the band is capping a sold-out pre-release promotional tour of select West and East Coast dates in the U.S. with a performance at the little-known Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a sprawling complex of botanical gardens and majestic Greek-revival buildings situated on Staten Island’s north shore. Erected in 1801 as a retirement facility for sailors, Snug Harbor has in more recent years been repurposed to serve the arts. Tonight it will serve the xx and serve them well.

I’m huddled on the deck amidst a de facto posse of employees from the Beggars Group, which, in addition to providing the care and feeding of legendary indie institutions like 4AD, Matador and Rough Trade, serves as the stateside outpost of the xx’s British home, XL Recordings. Everyone is, to put it charitably, over 30. Crouched nearby is a tender-aged, barely twentysomething couple leaning against the wall and discussing, improbably enough, the exigencies of aging.

“Life sucks more the older you get,” says the male to the female, who nods knowingly. He looks left and right to make sure this conversation is going unnoticed before adding, “I won’t say it too loud because everyone here will just be like, ‘Shut up, we know.’” We all hear it, but pretend we didn’t, feeling no particular need to provide confirmation. He’ll find out soon enough, the poor bastard. Just like we did. Just like everyone does sooner or later.

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Film At 11: Peter Matthew Bauer

Peter Matthew Bauer (Walkmen) recently released his debut album, Liberation, and it was well-received for good reasons. Now, he’s issued a video for a track off the LP called “You Are The Chapel.” The simplicity of the clip speaks to Bauer’s music style and to how his personality might actually be. Let’s just say he dances a lot. Check out the video below.

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MP3 At 3PM: The Marshmallow Overcoat

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The Knights Of Fuzz is no band, but rather a book by Timothy Gassen that explores a definitive history of the garage and psychedelic explosion since 1980. There is a fun theme song by his band the Marshmallow Overcoat to go along with the 500-page tome, though, and it certainly captures the energy and raw power of garage rock and psychedelia. Check out “Knights Of Fuzz” below.

“Knights Of Fuzz” (download):

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