MP3 At 3PM: CHUCK

CHUCK (a.k.a. Charles Griffin Gibson) plans to call it quits now that Frankenstein Songs For The Grocery Store (Audio Antihero) is out, and “Cherry Tree” is proof that he really was on to something with his off-kilter bedroom pop. These guitars sound like they bounce, and the way everything melds together to one unique pop sound shows off a great talent for making myriad small parts add up to something unified. Check out “Cherry Tree” below.

“Cherry Tree” (download):

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Essential New Music: Gogol Bordello’s “Seekers And Finders”

Gogol Bordello (a.k.a. the best live band on Earth, depending on who you ask) rocks harder on its first album in four years than it has in a decade, which doesn’t mean 2013’s Pura Vida Conspiracy wasn’t slightly better. But it wasn’t flirting with martial psychobilly as Eugene Hütz and his band do here, on galloping opener “Did It All” or slippery, machine-gunned shuffle “Break Into Your Higher Self.” Seekers And Finders is the straight cannonball the world’s premier Gypsy punks haven’t quite offered since 2005’s Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike itself, the unendingly breakneck, near-perfect encapsulation of a vision and genre they came up with all by themselves. Excellent first single “Saboteur Blues” is among their best, with Sergey Ryabtsev’s trapeze-swinging violin riff evoking all sorts of high-flying chutes and ladders. But Gogol’s ability to surprise is almost as underrated as its idiosyncratic mastery of its own sound, enlisting Regina Spektor for probably the most intense tune she’s ever lent her name to, “Seekers And Finders.” We know which one they are.

Dan Weiss

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The Sound Of Vinyl And MAGNET Vinyl Giveaway!

The Sound Of Vinyl is looking to become your ultimate vinyl destination and help you build your perfect record collection. When you sign up for personalized recommendations, they’ll text you daily vinyl picks, tailored to your taste. And if you want a record, all you have to do is reply “YES” to buy it. The Sound Of Vinyl is also assembling a team of curators—including Henry Rollins, Young Guru and Don Was—who will share their stories and knowledge with you. To introduce you to this cool new way of buying records, MAGNET and the Sound Of Vinyl have teamed up to give you a chance to win a kick-ass prize pack, including five albums every MAGNET reader must own. And kids, these aren’t just any five albums. These are the ones our staff choose back in 2003 as the five best albums released during MAGNET’s first decade of publishing: Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Nirvana’s In Utero, Guided By Voices’ Alien Lanes, Radiohead’s OK Computer and Belle And Sebastian’s Tigermilk. Enter to win here.

#SOVsweeps

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From The Desk Of Luna: “Drawn & Recorded: Modern Myths Of Music”

With their first new music since 2004’s Rendezvous, the master Lou Reed disciples in Luna return to one of their strengths: covers. A Sentimental Education finds the quartet—Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, Sean Eden and Lee Wall—tackling mostly obscurities by the likes of Yes, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Mercury Rev and Fleetwood Mac. Simultaneously released companion piece A Place Of Greater Safety EP is all-original, however, though the six songs are instrumentals. Luna will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Phillips: Did you know that Rick James and Neil Young were in a band together before Buffalo Springfield? Yep, and the details are juicy. This animated series, narrated by T Bone Burnett, “tells the stories that fell through the floorboards of music history.” There are nine episodes, all of them about the same length as pop song. I had no idea that Spotify produced their own videos until today. Don’t bother with Music Happens Here, but Drawn & Recorded is a real eye opener and includes great stories about a wide variety of artists, including Merle Haggard, Kurt Cobain, ODB, Louis Armstrong, Motörhead and the Rolling Stones.

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Happy Birthday Chuck Berry

Happy birthday to Chuck Berry. Richard Davies (Cardinal, Moles) on Chuck in MAGNET here.

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MP3 At 3PM: Gifts Or Creatures

Having a bad day and in need of quick tranquility? Take a listen to Gifts Or Creatures. They’re an up-and-coming husband/wife outfit that makes gorgeous indie folk. Latest single “Two Hearts (Two Peninsulas)”—off Fair Mitten (New Songs Of The Historic Great Lakes Basin) (Earthwork)—is a lovely, melodious blues-inspired track that’ll surely win over your heart. Stream or download it below.

“Two Hearts (Two Peninsulas)” (download):

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Manchester Orchestra: The Orchestral Dead

Influence comes from many sources, but only Manchester Orchestra can claim its new album, A Black Mile To The Surface (Loma Vista), was partially inspired by a farting corpse. After completing 2014’s dual releases Cope and Hope, Manchester frontman Andy Hull and guitarist Robert McDowell began work on the soundtrack to Swiss Army Man, featuring Paul Dano as a castaway and Daniel Radcliffe as the title character, a cadaver whose body is utilized by Dano in a variety of ways, including as a post-mortem gas-propelled speedboat. The film’s directors insisted Hull and McDowell create the soundtrack completely a capella, an interesting and evolutionary challenge.

“That was almost a deconstruction of the way we were used to doing things,” says Hull. “We’d never done anything like it before, to only use human voices and sounds for percussion and learning how first instinct isn’t always the best. Sonically, we got all these new ways to create sounds. If we did this effect on this Swiss Army Man vocal that makes it sound all crazy and not like a voice, what if we threw that on a guitar pedal or an old organ? We were researchers of tones and sounds for this record.”

Stripping everything down to its elements provided the perfect launch point for Black Mile. Hull was already thinking in terms of streamlining the Atlanta band’s sound after the prolific volume of Cope led to acoustic alter ego Hope, and Swiss Army Man provided a blueprint and material for the new album.

“We did 90-plus minutes of music, so many different versions of things,” says Hull. “It was like school in a cool way. I felt like I’d learned some new things I never would have gotten the chance to learn without it.”

Black Mile’s introspective themes and compelling music were also triggered by Hull’s freshly minted fatherhood. With Cope, he was clearly growing and maturing as both a musician and a person, but his new material, from the Avett Brothers ache of “The Maze” to the contemplative, Jeff Tweedy-meets-James Mercer heartbeat of “The Alien,” finds Hull writing from a new perspective.

“With Cope and Hope, I felt those were mission and life statements, like, ‘I’m turning into an adult here,’” says Hull. “It was a bit of a relief and, at the same time, still a darkness. On this one, I wanted to go real deep, and that had to do with being a new father and that shifting of my outlook and personal value. Your rank drops a few after that.”

A good deal of Black Mile was written by Hull with a sense of urgency. He had skeletal material on his phone that he played for McDowell at the end of Swiss Army Man, and the two selected the best material to flesh out. “I thought, ‘I recorded that a year ago, I haven’t listened to it since and I’m still singing it,’ so I went with that,” says Hull.

While Black Mile represented a rule-breaking project for Manchester, there was one edict that all the band members observed. “We had a rule that a song isn’t done until we’re jumping up and down,” says Hull. “It was months of trying to get them there. I’m really proud that it sounds like us, but doesn’t in a way.”

Brian Baker

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The Sound Of Vinyl And MAGNET Vinyl Giveaway!

The Sound Of Vinyl is looking to become your ultimate vinyl destination and help you build your perfect record collection. When you sign up for personalized recommendations, they’ll text you daily vinyl picks, tailored to your taste. And if you want a record, all you have to do is reply “YES” to buy it. The Sound Of Vinyl is also assembling a team of curators—including Henry Rollins, Young Guru and Don Was—who will share their stories and knowledge with you. To introduce you to this cool new way of buying records, MAGNET and the Sound Of Vinyl have teamed up to give you a chance to win a kick-ass prize pack, including five albums every MAGNET reader must own. And kids, these aren’t just any five albums. These are the ones our staff choose back in 2003 as the five best albums released during MAGNET’s first decade of publishing: Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Nirvana’s In Utero, Guided By Voices’ Alien Lanes, Radiohead’s OK Computer and Belle And Sebastian’s Tigermilk. Enter to win here.

#SOVsweeps

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From The Desk Of Luna: Black Fret

With their first new music since 2004’s Rendezvous, the master Lou Reed disciples in Luna return to one of their strengths: covers. A Sentimental Education finds the quartet—Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, Sean Eden and Lee Wall—tackling mostly obscurities by the likes of Yes, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Mercury Rev and Fleetwood Mac. Simultaneously released companion piece A Place Of Greater Safety EP is all-original, however, though the six songs are instrumentals. Luna will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Wall: Original Luna bassist Justin Harwood once asked me, “Why does the classical music world get most of the government grant funding in the U.S.? It’s just groups of musicians that play cover songs from 200 years ago. What about other types of music? What about rock music?”

Good question. I say that as someone who spent a few years in the classical-music world. While I always just wanted to be a rock drummer, I studied orchestral percussion early on and played in the local symphony. But I too had wondered why that genre of music was favored over others in this way.

I remember a band that opened for Luna in Stockholm telling me they received a grant from the Swedish government for their group. They used that money to turn their garage into a rehearsal space and buy some recording equipment. I wished we had that in the U.S. There may be exceptions, but for the most part, this disparity in grant funding still exists.

Enter Black Fret, an organization in Austin, Texas, built on the principle that musicians that play “other” types of music are worthy of public grant support. Through their patrons, they provide grants for local musicians, helping to keep the Austin music scene thriving. Black Fret is a worthy cause.

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Film At 11: Phantom Electric

Before 2017 concludes in a few months, we’d like to share with you a handful of bands you’ll need to have an eye out for this forthcoming year. Today, we’re ebullient to introduce you to the lovely dream-pop Phantom Electric. Hailing from Atlanta, Phantom Electric is a musical project created by the wildly versatile Nick Whitson. If that doesn’t already reel you in, we suggest watching the outfit’s new video for “Feels.” It’s a lovely seven-minute clip filled with bits of sparklers gleaming through the night, accompanying a gorgeous tune that will surely hypnotize you into a dreamy trance. If you don’t go and check them out now, you’ll definitely be regretting it later. Start by watching“Feels” below. We are happy to be premiering the video today on magnetmagazine.com.

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