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album cover MAGMA Mythes Et Legendes Volume II (Seventh /) dvd 35.00
EPOK 2 has arrived!! For all Magma fans, a glorious moment indeed. Actually this moment should have occurred a month or two ago, but unfortunately the label in France accidentally sent us PAL rather than NTSC dvds, and we only just finally got the correct NTSC ones. But no matter, it was worth the wait! This is part two in the planned four-disc live dvd series documenting Christian Vander's current, amazing Magma lineup (plus some special guests from Magma days of yore) in concert doing versions of their '70s classics, for their 35th anniversary in 2005. Not sure why the heck we didn't fly to France for it, but thank god these shows were filmed for dvd -- pro shot and edited, with multiple camera angles, very intimate and exciting. The disc starts with behind-the-scenes footage of the band arriving at the venue and warming up... they joke around as they greet one another backstage but then when it's time to play... damn this gets SERIOUS.
That's right, since the material performed in the Mythes Et Legendes series was organized chronologically, this second dvd features some of their heaviest masterpieces, several utterly crucial Magma compositions from 1973 to 1976, including a 49 minute "Wurdah Itah", a 42 minute "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh", and a 21 minute "De Futura". That's what we said. WURDAH ITAH. MEKANIK DESTRUKTIW KOMMANDOH. DE FUTURA. Damn.
Not only that, but freakin' bass maestro Jannick Top (like Vander, an old dude now but looking weirdly burly and badass in his black leather vest and shades) joins the band for "M.D.K." and his own "De Futura"! Plus he shows off with a moody, virtuoso bass solo based on a Bach piece. As if he needed to prove anything.
Basically, if you like Magma, you want, no you NEED to watch them do "De Futura" on this thing. They tear it up. Vander's in a frenzy. Top's bass playing is off the hook. The choir does some crazy shit too. Oh yeah, another old friend is on here -- vocalist Klaus Blasquiz. And by the way, unlike Epok 1, there's no horn section.
What else to say? If you're a Magma fan, you'll be happy with this as soon as you hear the music looped on the menu page, we're telling you!
Tech specs: NTSC, all-region, 2 hours and 18 minutes.

album cover MAGMA Mythes Et Legendes Volume III (Seventh / UZMK) dvd 35.00
Here it is, drooling Magma fans -- the third, penultimate "Epok" in the eternal French "Zeuhl" gods triumphant live four-disc DVD series, Mythes Et Legendes, celebrating 35 years of their utterly unique, heavy prog sounds. Recorded in May of 2005, the nine compositions performed here begin with a full 32 and a half minute rendition of their epic "Kohntarkosz" from 1974, continuing on to include such classics as "Emehnteht-Re", "Hhai", and "Zombies", hitting (at least some of) the highlights of the Magma songbook up to 1977 or thereabouts, drawing from such albums as Kohntarkosz, Hhai/Live and Attahk. If you've got the first two dvds (hard to imagine you'd be getting just this one) then you know that Magma drummer/vocalist/mastermind Christian Vander's current band totally KICKS ASS. Besides Vander himself, the Magma documented here features the vocals/percussion squad of Stella Vander, Antoine Paganotti, Himiko Paganotti and Isabelle Feuillebois, alongside James Mac Gaw on guitar, Emmanuel Borghi on Fender Rhodes, and Philippe Bussonnet on bass. Former keyboardist Bentoit Widemann guests on Fender and Minimoog as well. Brilliant. NTSC, all-region, 115 minutes totale!
(A bonus feature on this disc is the special DRUMS-ONLY viewing angle available for the Attahk track "The Last Seven Minutes". They know their fans!)

MAGMA Retrospektiw I-II (Seventh) 2cd 32.00

MAGMA Retrospektiw III (Seventh) cd 21.00
1980 collection. Vander: "I composed for the 11th anniversary of Magma the theme 'Retrovision' (or 'Attahk'). It was like a summary of all the tunes played by Magma until then. The result was so powerful, like a punch in the eyes of all that had criticised us, those who said: 'Magma is dead...' (as at each time that we didn't play for 3 months). The theme says 'Magma is said to be dead.. he is not!'. It was a joy and triumph during three days at the Olympia Hall. From these three nights, we have recorded three albums, 'Retrospektiw III' and then 'Retrospektiw II' where you can hear a tune that many had waited for so long: 'Theusz Hamtaahk'. So great!'

MAGMA Simples (Seventh) cd 16.98
Magma fanatics will want this! Five songs originally released only on 7" vinyl (the tracks are taken from three different singles, circa 1971-1974). From the stomp of Jannick Top's "Mekanik Machine" to the weird grooviness of Vander's "Klaus Kombalad", all great stuff.

album cover MAGMA Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie (Seventh) 3cd 49.00
Send out the Ork alarm! Here's a major event for those initiated into the cult of this French prog colossus, the Wagner-meets-Coltrane-meets-'70s prog rock outfit MAGMA. A rare, brand new release, with the current lineup of the band filling three cds with killer live versions of three of Magma's album-length masterpieces, the Theusz Hamtaahk "Trilogie au Trianon" of TH, Wurdah Itah (here recorded by a larger group than on the 1974 LP), and Magma's martial classic Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh. Obviously, one for fans only (just 'cause I can't imagine the uninitiated shelling out the actually quite reasonable $30 for these three cds, although they would be an excellent introduction to the group's work!) and a real treat. The ever-vigorous Vander and Co. are in great form, rivaling their '70s incarnation, seeming never to have peaked. Certainly after all these years they've honed their unique aesthetic to a not-of-this-earth perfection. I can't really tell you what it all means (literally -- the liner notes are either in their invented language Kobaian or in French) but clearly Magma and the Theusz Hamtaahk cycle are bigger than you or me or most music today. This is genius, weird music: massed chanting vox, jazz-fusion licks, percussive furies, shuddering bass... And it's all wonderfully packaged -- the three cds are housed in cardboard jackets, nestled in a box (the inside of which is even decorated with stars and arcane symbols), complete with a thick booklet of lyrics (no, there's no English translations, but at least you can sing along in Kobaian!), plus there's lots of photos and art. Now, the AQ'er writing this happens to be wearing an official Magma wristwatch, so make of this what you will: highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: "Malawelekaahm"
RealAudio clip: "Gorutz Wortz"
RealAudio clip: "Nebehr Gudahtt"
RealAudio clip: "Wlasik steuhn Kobaia"

album cover MAGMA Theusz Hamtaahk: Trilogie au Trianon (Seventh) dvd 47.00
Perhaps we can give this 2 hour, 43 minute dvd a fuller review sometime, but as they've been blowing out of here fast, here's a brief description as we wanted to list it this time before we run out (again) -- never fear, though, 'cause we will be able to get more in the event they're gone when you ask for yours.
It's our favorite beyond "prog" band Magma, live in concert for their 30th anniversary in Paris, May 13th and 14th 2000. This concert dvd is a total pro job, with great sound and of course out-of-this-world music, as the one and only Christian Vander and his (mostly much younger) current incarnation of Magma play the entire "Theusz Hamtaahk" trilogy: "Theusz Hamtaahk", "Wurdah Itah", and "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh". Vander is older and grayer and burlier, still totally in command of his drum kit and his band, his majestic and bizarre musical vision undiminished, and in fine voice as well. Dramatically lit and well shot (with multiple cameras), it's the next best thing to actually seeing them live -- and not everyone is that lucky.
The bonus material on this all-region NTSC DVD includes interviews (in French) and additional live footage of a cute little kid playing drums on stage with Vander, who I'd guess is the proud dad. That chapter is called "Fabien, cadet de la Zeuhl".

MAGMA Udu Wudu (Seventh) cd 21.00
Features the classic bass-heavy track "De Futura", which is more or less the basis for the Ruins' entire output! Much better sounding than the Tomato-label version some may be familiar with. Says Vander: "In this album we can hear 'De Futura', one of the rare tunes recorded by one of the most creative musician of Magma, Janik Top. Its beauty is icy and internally unbreakable. The tune is accompanied by other themes, some of them being composed by Bernard Paganotti, Janik Top or I; these are less interesting perhaps but in the same vein as 'De Futura'."

MAGMA / CHRISTIAN VANDER Merci (Seventh) cd 21.00

album cover MAGNET Issue 72 -- July / August 2006 magazine 3.50
We're all music nerds, and most of us love reading about records as much as we like listening to them. Reviews, interviews, articles, even looking at ads to see what new records will be coming out. And we all have our favorite magazines, whether it's the modern new music of the Wire, or metal and all things heavy and extreme covered by Terrorizer, neofree folk and jazz like in Signal To Noise, the random hipster bullshit of Vice, and then there's tons of killer zines, Oaken Throne, Salt, etc... So it's easy to forget about -that- magazine. You know the one. Solid, stalwart, distinctly indie rock, covering all the classics, and new favorites, even a handful of next big things, so simple and sturdy and reliable, it often gets overshadowed by its flashier, hipper counterparts. Kind of like the best friend in teen movies, the one who is always there for the main character, the girl that is all crushed out on the asshole football player, while the best friend, who is of course in love with here, gets forgotten and overlooked and ignored, who is is always there to mend a broken heart, offer up a hug, or some cookies, give up hundreds of reviews of the newest indie rock releases, interview loads of killer bands and... okay we're getting confused here. We're talking about Magnet, a pretty dang cool magazine that does get ignored sometimes because it's not as wild or way out or hip as some other rags, but continues to cover a pretty wide swath of indie rock and cover it well. This month, on the cover, Belle & Sebastian, and inside, articles about and interviews with Eddie Vedder, Scott Walker, TV On The Radio, Sonic Youth, Stephin Merritt, Richard Ashcroft, Mojave 3, Juana Molina, Rainer Maria, Red Krayola, Band Of Horses, World Party, Black Angels, Yo La Tengo, Danielson Famile, Sparta, Walkmen, Elf Power, Built To Spill, Okkervil River as well as a kick as history of Homestead Records. Check it out!

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS 69 Love Songs Box Set (Merge) 3cd 43.00
Each cd features 23 songs of Stephin Merritt's wry, romantic, witty, droll, lovelorn tales - when collected together there's all 69 of his love songs. A song for each and every possible matter of the heart. For when your heart is broken, for when your heart is swollen... and when it's not, Stephin will do it for you. He understands. Box set includes all three cds, a slipcase, and a small book...

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS 69 Love Songs Pt 1 (Merge) cd 13.98
Each CD features 23 songs of Stephin Merritt's wry, romantic, witty, droll, lovelorn tales -- when collected together there's all 69 of his love songs. A song for each and every possible matter of the heart. For when your heart is broken, for when your heart is swollen... and when it's not, Stephin will do it for you. He understands. This did come as a box set which included all three cds, a slipcase, and a small book... We were shocked to have sold out of it in about three hours! It's being repressed, and in the meantime we are selling the individual discs. Hopefully the label will make copies of the booklet available to those fans who bought the single discs! Merge, are you listening?

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS 69 Love Songs Pt 2 (Merge) cd 13.98
Each CD features 23 songs of Stephin Merritt's wry, romantic, witty, droll, lovelorn tales -- when collected together there's all 69 of his love songs. A song for each and every possible matter of the heart. For when your heart is broken, for when your heart is swollen... and when it's not, Stephin will do it for you. He understands. This did come as a box set which included all three cds, a slipcase, and a small book... We were shocked to have sold out of it in about three hours! It's being repressed, and in the meantime we are selling the individual discs. Hopefully the label will make copies of the booklet available to those fans who bought the single discs! Merge, are you listening?

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS 69 Love Songs Pt 3 (Merge) cd 13.98
Each CD features 23 songs of Stephin Merritt's wry, romantic, witty, droll, lovelorn tales -- when collected together there's all 69 of his love songs. A song for each and every possible matter of the heart. For when your heart is broken, for when your heart is swollen... and when it's not, Stephin will do it for you. He understands. This did come as a box set which included all three cds, a slipcase, and a small book... We were shocked to have sold out of it in about three hours! It's being repressed, and in the meantime we are selling the individual discs. Hopefully the label will make copies of the booklet available to those fans who bought the single discs! Merge, are you listening?

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS Andrew In Drag (Merge) 7" 5.98
Last list we got to rave about one of our favorite old Magnetic Fields records, Holiday, from the early '90s, which was just reissued on vinyl. This time we get to rave about a NEW slab of wax from Stephin Merritt and his crew. With a new album coming out in March this awesome 7" gives us a sneak peak at what the style/set-up will be this time out and from the sound of these two tracks we're pretty excited. The title track is not only one of the wittiest songs Merritt has penned (and damn he's made a living out of crafting witty songs) but it also brings back synths to the Magnetic Fields sound, something we've been missing so much in recent outings. The B side "You Ain't No Picasso" is classic Merritt, bittersweet and sardonic, it's also an exclusive track which won't be on the upcoming full length. This is a no-brainer for Magnetic Fields fans.

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS Charm Of The Highway Strip (Merge) cd 12.98
Yet another triumph by Stephin Merritt in his Magnetic Fields guise. The perfect driving record. Songs about leaving a place you don't want to be, traveling somewhere you don't want to go. Sad deep vocals, lovely keyboards, piano, and cello. One of this band's best endeavors to date.

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS Distortion (Nonesuch) cd 16.98
It's only January but we're pretty sure we have a contender for record of the year on our hands! We're always so impressed with the rare examples of bands who have reached such heights of popularity yet still keep challenging themselves and their fans. Sadly there aren't many in that club, but folks like Yo La Tengo, PJ Harvey and Sonic Youth have helped demonstrate that even many many records deep into a career you can still make thrilling and rewarding music. With their latest, Stephin Merrit's Magnetic Fields have proven to be a full fledged member of that elite club as well.
While Magnetic Fields last album, I, found Merrit pouring it on pretty thick, this long awaited follow up (with plenty of extracurricular activity by Merrit in the meantime) finds Merrit stripping it down and finding the fun in layers, noise and yes...distortion. Many tracks feature the charming and beautiful voice of Shirley Simms, and the songs that Merrit sings find his vocals way more buried in the mix than usual. Distortion reminds us a lot of the early bedroom charm of Magnetic Fields records like Charm Of The Highway Strip and one of Merrit's many alter egos The Future Bible Heroes. We love how it sounds like they are tapping into the spirit of the New Zealand lo-fi pop underground of the '80s and even hints of the fuzzy and dreamy qualities of the heyday of Creation records. Not many people could get away with having a major label release such a non-slick and unpolished record. In fact there are moments on Distortion that sound like they could have been on some awesome cassette release from Shrimper back in the day.
Distortion is a timeless gem. While it does tip its hat to some of the most yummy and fuzzy pop of the last couple decades and boasts a wall of sound that's kind of like Phil Spector producing a twee-like Jesus & Mary Chain record, what makes the album so special is that you know it's going to sound as meaningful and alive twenty years from now as it does today. Merrit is still writing music for wry and broken hearts but he's injected new life into old pain and in doing so he's created another classic!
MPEG Stream: "Three-Way"
MPEG Stream: "Please Stop Dancing"
MPEG Stream: "Too Drunk To Dream"

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS Distortion (Nonesuch) lp 22.00
Now on vinyl! Here's what we said when the cd was first released:
It's only January but we're pretty sure we have a contender for record of the year on our hands! We're always so impressed with the rare examples of bands who have reached such heights of popularity yet still keep challenging themselves and their fans. Sadly there aren't many in that club, but folks like Yo La Tengo, PJ Harvey and Sonic Youth have helped demonstrate that even many many records deep into a career you can still make thrilling and rewarding music. With their latest, Stephin Merrit's Magnetic Fields have proven to be a full fledged member of that elite club as well.
While Magnetic Fields last album, I, found Merrit pouring it on pretty thick, this long awaited follow up (with plenty of extracurricular activity by Merrit in the meantime) finds Merrit stripping it down and finding the fun in layers, noise and yes...distortion. Many tracks feature the charming and beautiful voice of Shirley Simms, and the songs that Merrit sings find his vocals way more buried in the mix than usual. Distortion reminds us a lot of the early bedroom charm of Magnetic Fields records like Charm Of The Highway Strip and one of Merrit's many alter egos The Future Bible Heroes. We love how it sounds like they are tapping into the spirit of the New Zealand lo-fi pop underground of the '80s and even hints of the fuzzy and dreamy qualities of the heyday of Creation records. Not many people could get away with having a major label release such a non-slick and unpolished record. In fact there are moments on Distortion that sound like they could have been on some awesome cassette release from Shrimper back in the day.
Distortion is a timeless gem. While it does tip its hat to some of the most yummy and fuzzy pop of the last couple decades and boasts a wall of sound that's kind of like Phil Spector producing a twee-like Jesus & Mary Chain record, what makes the album so special is that you know it's going to sound as meaningful and alive twenty years from now as it does today. Merrit is still writing music for wry and broken hearts but he's injected new life into old pain and in doing so he's created another classic!

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS Get Lost (Merge) cd 12.98
Everyone has a favorite record that acts as a faithful crutch throughout their life and this is Sadie's. Every song has a different heartbreaking theme. Each devastating in their own way. You will never tire of this Stephin Merritt's masterpiece.

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS Get Lost (Merge) lp 17.98
First reviewed almost 10 years ago and a constant aQ favorite and big seller ever since, Magnetic Fields' Get Lost finally gets a super sweet vinyl release. Our way too brief review from way back in the very early days of the list, long before we wrote epic tomes as reviews, went a little like this:
"Everyone has a favorite record that acts as a faithful crutch throughout their life and this is ours. Every song has a different heartbreaking theme. Each devastating in their own way. You will never tire of this, Stephin Merritt's masterpiece."
And indeed, this is a gorgeous, sad, beautiful, wryly humorous, and utterly heartbreaking and heart rending slab of morose sweetly sour pop. That is of course utterly and emphatically recommended.

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS Holiday (Merge) cd 13.98
Magnetic Fields third beloved full length is notable as being the first on which mainman Stephin Merritt sang his deeper than deep, droller than droll lead vocals. Following the departure of the heartmeltingly honey-voiced Susan Anway, what could he do, but tackle the singing duties in the most diametrically opposite fashion. And the results have proven heartmelting in their own right!. Don't miss the third song "Deep Sea Diving Suit". Truly one of Merritt's finest moments!
MPEG Stream: "Deep Sea Diving Suit"
MPEG Stream: "Torn Green Velvet Eyes"

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS Holiday (Merge) lp 17.98
One of our all time favorite Magnetic Fields albums finally reissued on vinyl! Holiday was first released in 1993, and marked a big shift for Stephen Merritt as it was the album on which his idiosyncratic voice began to take center stage. While his earlier outings always had his female muses singing lead, Holiday was the moment that voice of his became the prominent focal point of the band. It was also the record where his songwriting skills started to reach the next level of being so crazy good. As we go back and listen to this again we are struck by the thought that just about every one of these songs made it on a mix-tape that we made at some point in the '90s. "Strange Powers", "Desert Island", "Take Ecstasy With Me", "All You Ever Do Is Walk Away", "The Trouble I've Been Looking For", it goes on and on. Most bands wish they could have that many standout tracks throughout their career, let alone on a single album. We could go on and on, as this really does represent our favorite era of the Magnetic Fields. This is pop perfection!
MPEG Stream: "Deep Sea Diving Suit"
MPEG Stream: "Torn Green Velvet Eyes"

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS i (Nonesuch) cd 16.98
Alright all you Stephin Merritt / Magnetic Fields fanatics, the wait is finally over! Your patience has been rewarded with this splendid new full length. Sure, in the time that's passed since their 1999 epic 69 Love Songs triple cd, Merritt's work on film soundtracks (Pieces of April and Eban & Charley) as well as his other projects The Sixths and Future Bible Heroes have kept our bittersweet cravings at bay, but really, they're no substitute for a genuine Magnetic Fields album, right? Right!
This glorious album is comprised completely of songs beginning with the letter "i" (mostly in the role of the pronoun). All but one is brand new (the second song "I Don't Believe You", previously released on a 1998 7" single, makes a welcome reappearance -- it's an old Andee mixtape fave!). This thematic choice makes us muse whether this is the beginning of a new wry Merritt endeavour, an alphabetical adventure (albeit starting a little out of order)?! Overall, i is a hushed, acoustic chamber music affair. Even the lone dancier number "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend" is considerably low key. He's set aside his assorted synthesizers and drum machines for the time being. Instead, he's favored minimal arrangements with just his and Claudia Gonson's voices, some percussion and one or two of the following instruments -- piano, guitar, banjo, harpsichord, sitar and cello. Not at all surprisingly, the results are deeply moving and captivating. Merritt's singing reaches its most torchy, frail and vulnerable range... and it's absolutely heartbreakingly wonderful! Recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Is This What They Used To Call Love"
MPEG Stream: "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend"

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS The Wayward Bus / Distant Plastic Trees (Merge) cd 13.98
The first two Magnetic Fields albums reissued by Merge Records on one disc! This is where you go when you need to hear the early genius of Stephin Merritt. Putting his lo-fi keyboards and drum machines to wonderful use. These two full lengths feature the vocals of Susan Anway. Merritt didn't take on vocal duties until subsequent releases. Her voice however is a fitting female counterpart to his deep croon - so droll, yet drenched with romantic longing. Alternately reminiscent of '60s Brill Building girl group pop and glistening, lush chamber pop. Classic heartbreak music. Highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "When You Were My Baby"
MPEG Stream: "100,000 Fireflies"

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS, THE Love At The Bottom Of The Sea (Merge) cd 14.98
For their return to Merge Records, The Magnetic Fields have made their first release featuring synthesizers in over 10 years. After a slew of "concept" records (i, Realism, Distortion), it seems that Stephin Merritt has made a conscious effort to go back to his Holiday or Charm of the Highway Strip roots, and the results are somewhat mixed. There's plenty of punning and playfulness in his lyrics, a few harpsichords and hand claps. The songs (at least the first few) are extraordinarily catchy and well put together, and oh so clever, but despite the return to form, there's something lacking from the record that makes it as a whole a bit disappointing. Not disappointing necessarily for dedicated fans, perhaps, and Stephin Merritt has PLENTY of those. It just feels a bit like Merritt & Co. set out to make a record because they felt that they needed to, rather than because they actually had anything new to say. Love at the Bottom of the Sea is not their finest work, but it's the most true to form disc they've put forth in a decade. Also noteworthy is the appearance of San Francisco's own Randy Walker (aka Carletta Sue Kay) on backup vocals on a few tracks!
MPEG Stream: "Andrew In Drag"
MPEG Stream: "Your Girlfriend's Face"
MPEG Stream: "Infatuation (With Your Gyration)"

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS, THE Love At The Bottom Of The Sea (Merge) lp 21.00
For their return to Merge Records, The Magnetic Fields have made their first release featuring synthesizers in over 10 years. After a slew of "concept" records (i, Realism, Distortion), it seems that Stephin Merritt has made a conscious effort to go back to his Holiday or Charm of the Highway Strip roots, and the results are somewhat mixed. There's plenty of punning and playfulness in his lyrics, a few harpsichords and hand claps. The songs (at least the first few) are extraordinarily catchy and well put together, and oh so clever, but despite the return to form, there's something lacking from the record that makes it as a whole a bit disappointing. Not disappointing necessarily for dedicated fans, perhaps, and Stephin Merritt has PLENTY of those. It just feels a bit like Merritt & Co. set out to make a record because they felt that they needed to, rather than because they actually had anything new to say. Love at the Bottom of the Sea is not their finest work, but it's the most true to form disc they've put forth in a decade. Also noteworthy is the appearance of San Francisco's own Randy Walker (aka Carletta Sue Kay) on backup vocals on a few tracks!
MPEG Stream: "Andrew In Drag"
MPEG Stream: "Your Girlfriend's Face"
MPEG Stream: "Infatuation (With Your Gyration)"

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS, THE Realism (Nonesuch) cd 16.98
Nobody makes misery and endless longing sound better then Stephin Merritt. As it's been raining nonstop in San Francisco we've been eagerly awaiting this new Magnetic Fields album since pretty much nothing sounds better when it's gray and grim outside, than the beautifully morose pop that Merritt and his comrades create.
Realism is very much the counterpoint to the last Magnetic Fields album, Distortion, which was all plugged in, in the red, filled with fuzz, a sonic nod to the Jesus & Mary Chain. Realism goes in the opposite direction. Made completely with acoustic instruments, this is their 'baroque folk' album. In many ways it has much of the same kind of sound and style found on 69 Love Songs, the masterpiece which catapulted Magnetic Fields from indie sweethearts to full on cultural icons. Merritt is no doubt one of the best songwriters of this generation, both in the memorable lyrics he writes and the nuanced arrangements he creates. Like all great songwriters Merritt is able to create in a wide variety of styles. In the past he's made electronic pop, fuzzy lo-fi rock, ukulele stompers, and shoegaze like dreaminess. And when you see The Magnetic Fields play live its so awesome because they often change the arrangements and styles of their songs, like when they toured for Distortion they actually played all those loud rocking songs all hushed and acoustic!
Realism is another reminder that no matter what style, aesthetic or theme Merritt choses to work within he's always able to emerge with memorable and moving songs that will have remain emotionally and sonically relevant for so many years to come.
MPEG Stream: "You Must Be Out Of Your Mind"
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Know What To Say"
MPEG Stream: "Walk A Lonely Road"

album cover MAGNETIC FIELDS, THE Realism (Nonesuch) lp 21.00
Nobody makes misery and endless longing sound better then Stephin Merritt. As it's been raining nonstop in San Francisco we've been eagerly awaiting this new Magnetic Fields album since pretty much nothing sounds better when it's gray and grim outside, than the beautifully morose pop that Merritt and his comrades create.
Realism is very much the counterpoint to the last Magnetic Fields album, Distortion, which was all plugged in, in the red, filled with fuzz, a sonic nod to the Jesus & Mary Chain. Realism goes in the opposite direction. Made completely with acoustic instruments, this is their 'baroque folk' album. In many ways it has much of the same kind of sound and style found on 69 Love Songs, the masterpiece which catapulted Magnetic Fields from indie sweethearts to full on cultural icons. Merritt is no doubt one of the best songwriters of this generation, both in the memorable lyrics he writes and the nuanced arrangements he creates. Like all great songwriters Merritt is able to create in a wide variety of styles. In the past he's made electronic pop, fuzzy lo-fi rock, ukulele stompers, and shoegaze like dreaminess. And when you see The Magnetic Fields play live its so awesome because they often change the arrangements and styles of their songs, like when they toured for Distortion they actually played all those loud rocking songs all hushed and acoustic!
Realism is another reminder that no matter what style, aesthetic or theme Merritt choses to work within he's always able to emerge with memorable and moving songs that will have remain emotionally and sonically relevant for so many years to come.
MPEG Stream: "You Must Be Out Of Your Mind"
MPEG Stream: "I Don't Know What To Say"
MPEG Stream: "Walk A Lonely Road"

album cover MAGNETIC STRIPPER Extended Play-R (Suitcase) 7" 5.50
Given the look and sound of this short EP, Magnetic Stripper could be some terminally obscure DIY-industrial-synth project circa 1982, with the tinny drum machines, noisy blurts from various synths, and plenty of references to Absolute Body Control, Minimal Man, The Units, and Chris Carter's synth moments within Throbbing Gristle. But in fact, this is the work of San Francisco's James Ellis, currently working and performing today. There are four short pieces that would make for a great teaser for a forthcoming record, with the weird-science array of disjointed synth melodies and electro-static squiggling, all hanging upon skeletal drum machine pulses. The title track has more of a bedroom project New Wave feel with its motorik rhythms and percolated step sequencing. The other three tracks take more of an early SPK direction with all of the drum rhythms taking on a lumbering pace, minus the snarled noise and grizzy imagery. Both sides of the 7" end on perfectly executed locked grooves, and the single comes with a retro-looking button. Very cool.

album cover MAGNETICS We Are The Mountains We Are The Fields (Sweatlung) cd 9.98
Another backroom discovery, we got these more than a year ago, and somehow they never made it out on the floor. This trio of Australia underground vets have teamed up for some gorgeous sprawling free rock / free jazz weirdness. Warm and languid, abstract and pretty dreamy, taking guitars, vocals and drums, some feedback and processing, and even a bit of saxophone, into a weird blend of Necks like jazzy minimalism, and slow burning post rock ambience, like the Dirty Three covering the Dead C! All deep reverby guitars, sizzling cymbals, creaking bits of percussion, soft swirls of effects, very moody and fuzzy and ethereal. Some female vocals surface here and there, a soft torch songy croon over the smoldering post jazz skitter underneath, building to something a bit more abstract, a little more noisy, the cymbals still unleashing clouds of metallic shimmer, deep distant rumbles and whirs, some spidery guitars, and some woozy washed out ambience.
As the end draws near, the drone grows a bit more caustic, multiple layers of cymbals and soft feedback, and muted barely there low end, drift and swirl into a gorgeously hazy near static drone, rife with overtones and subtly shifting barely there melodies, and again, that skeletal guitar reaches up from the murk, grounding the free drift in something slightly more postrock, before closing off with a sub 2 minute outro, all angular Marc Ribot like guitar and breathless female vocals, haunting and quite pretty.
Think Necks, Bohren, Dirty Three, For Carnation, but a bit more avant and abstract, quite lovely...
MPEG Stream: "Charcoal"
MPEG Stream: "Pale"

MAGNETOPHONE I Guess Sometimes I Need To Be Reminded Of How Much You Love Me (4AD) cd 14.98
Lovely! After a series of singles on the trustworthy UK indie labels Static Caravan and Earworm, Magnetophone releases a full length on the newly-exciting 4AD label. This promising duo makes super lush electronica along the mellow lines of Boards of Canada, Two Lone Swordsmen, and Autechre, only more warm and less digital sounding. Shuffling percussion, masterful and careful use of distortion and echo result in this instrumental beauty of an album. Very nice minimal packaging too. Recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Oh Darlin'"
RealAudio clip: "Temporary Lid/Georgia"

album cover MAGNETOPHONE The Man Who Ate The Man (4AD) cd 13.98
Wow. This is a strange one. When we last heard from Magnetophone, they were a warm fuzzy electronica outfit along the lines of Boards Of Canada or Two Lone Swordsmen. Muted and dreamy and sort of spacy. While The Man Who Ate The Man still has plenty of that warmth and fuzziness, and is still basically a blissed out dreamy electronic record, it's much more 'pop' this time around, and not just more pop, but more eighties pop. Shades of EMF, the Cure, Gene Loves Jezebel, INXS, Howard Jones, Jesus Jones, Depeche Mode, all those groups you loved way back when, but some how filtered through some strange gauzy 4AD elctrobliss filter. Warm warped organ fuzzscapes over strange bloopy bleepy eighties funkiness, super reverbed vocals, and lots of strangely familiar melodies. That may sound like a bizarre and maybe not entirely appealing mix, but the results are actually really quite gorgeous. The end result sometimes sounds a bit like Stereolab or some similarly inclined Too Pure band, sometimes not unlike your favorite modern rock station from the nineties, broadcasting all the hits into the ether, which are then intercepted by a satellite and sent back to earth, getting fuzzier and fuzzier as they struggle to make it back through the atmosphere, where they are then broadcast through the amps of a shoegaze-y Neu! worshipping rock band, the whole thing given a fuzzed out indistinct blissy patina by Tim Hecker or Philip Jeck. Good stuff!
MPEG Stream: "A Sad Ha Ha (Circled By Demise)"
MPEG Stream: "...And May Your Last Words Be A Chance To Make Things Better"

MAGNOG (Kranky) cd 14.98
Newest Kranky artists sound just like you'd expect them to, maybe a little smoother, not as scratchy or invigorating as Flying Saucer Attack, yet song #3 has a vocal track that's just tantalizingly buried enough you'll find yrself playing it over and over again trying to decipher the words, not at all an unpleasant exercise. Several pieces feature Jessamine's inspiring keyboardist Andy Brown. What does Magnog mean, or refer to?

MAGNOG (Kranky) 2lp 12.98
Newest Kranky artists sound just like you'd expect them to, maybe a little smoother, not as scratchy or invigorating as Flying Saucer Attack, yet song #3 has a vocal track that's just tantalizingly buried enough you'll find yrself playing it over and over again trying to decipher the words, not at all an unpleasant exercise. Several pieces feature Jessamine's inspiring keyboardist Andy Brown. What does Magnog mean, or refer to?

MAGNOG More Weather (Kranky) 2cd 15.98
Pacific NW space-rock band's home-recorded demos, '94-'96 or so, taking up two compact discs. Jessamine Jr.?

MAGNOLIA (original sound track) (Reprise) cd 17.98
9 new songs by Aimee Mann, remember her? Til Tuesday? The girl with one long braid coming out of her short new wave do. Since her songs are all over the film Magnolia, this soundtrack is sort of like her new album. Also included, two of the greatest songs ever written: Supertramp's Goodbye Stranger and Logical Song.

album cover MAGNOLIA s/t (Transubstans) cd 16.98
Another Swedish psych stoner throwback band!

album cover MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. Josephine (Secretly Canadian) cd 12.98
What can be said that hasn't been said already about the mighty Americana troubadour Jason Molina? He continues to weave his wonderful rustic folk pop tapestry in various deep dark shades of sorrow. On Josephine, he once again absolutely nails the heartbreak and the despair in classic country rock fashion. Of the generous list of fourteen tunes, standouts include the title track as well as "Little Sad Eyes", but the best might be "Knoxville Girl". Check 'em out!
MPEG Stream: "Josephine"
MPEG Stream: "Little Sad Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Knoxville Girl"

album cover MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. Josephine (Secretly Canadian) lp 14.98
What can be said that hasn't been said already about the mighty Americana troubadour Jason Molina? He continues to weave his wonderful rustic folk pop tapestry in various deep dark shades of sorrow. On Josephine, he once again absolutely nails the heartbreak and the despair in classic country rock fashion. Of the generous list of fourteen tunes, standouts include the title track as well as "Little Sad Eyes", but the best might be "Knoxville Girl". Check 'em out!
MPEG Stream: "Josephine"
MPEG Stream: "Little Sad Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Knoxville Girl"

album cover MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. Sojourner (Secretly Canadian) 4cd+dvd 45.00
Geez, Jason Molina, what are you tryin' to do to us!? How the heck can we possibly sufficiently listen, watch, digest and report in on your new release that includes four cds and one dvd? If we did, well, it would probably take weeks and the release wouldn't be new anymore! We have heard some of it, and not surprisingly, the few songs we did hear were prime Molina fare -- well-worn, roaming loner melancholia -- but in the interest of timeliness, we'll let the sticker on the shrinkwrap of this special wooden boxed set say it all... "Secretly Canadian is proud to present The Sojourner Boxset. It is the accumulated work of thirteen musicians, five locations, four recording engineers, three filmmakers, two designers and one songwriter, including enough material for three full lengths, one EP and one DVD. Explore the celestial map of Jason Molina and the various constellations of his... Magnolia Electric Co."

album cover MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. Trials & Errors (Secretly Canadian) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Perhaps following his Amalgamated Sons Of Rest cohort Will Oldham's multi-naming lead (y'know making music as Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Palace Music/Brothers/Songs, etc) and to mark a new chapter in his musical travels, Jason Molina (aka Songs:Ohia) has assumed a new performance moniker. It is Magnolia Electric Co., and it was the title of his final album as Songs: Ohia. Aaah, a rose by any other name...! Anyways, your official introduction to M.E.C. is the hearty country rock of this live album which was recorded in Brussels in 2003 (psst, a studio album is set to be released in the spring!). Maybe to ease his fans through the name change, Molina mixes the old with the new, performing a bunch of new songs as well as a few Songs:Ohia tunes. Actually many of these songs also recall those good ol' days of AQ fave Uncle Tupelo -- not only is Molina's vocal delivery very often akin to Jay Farrar's, but the guitar tone, pacing and mood are quite similar as well -- particularly on fine songs such as "North Star". Fans take note, this cd release is a "limited" pressing of 10,000!
MPEG Stream: "North Star"
MPEG Stream: "The Last 3 Human Words"

album cover MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. Trials & Errors (Secretly Canadian) 2lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Perhaps following his Amalgamated Sons Of Rest cohort Will Oldham's multi-naming lead (y'know making music as Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Palace Music/Brothers/Songs, etc) and to mark a new chapter in his musical travels, Jason Molina (aka Songs:Ohia) has assumed a new performance moniker. It is Magnolia Electric Co., and it was the title of his final album as Songs: Ohia. Aaah, a rose by any other name...! Anyways, your official introduction to M.E.C. is the hearty country rock of this live album which was recorded in Brussels in 2003 (psst, a studio album is set to be released in the spring!). Maybe to ease his fans through the name change, Molina mixes the old with the new, performing a bunch of new songs as well as a few Songs:Ohia tunes. Actually many of these songs also recall those good ol' days of AQ fave Uncle Tupelo -- not only is Molina's vocal delivery very often akin to Jay Farrar's, but the guitar tone, pacing and mood are quite similar as well -- particularly on fine songs such as "North Star". Fans take note, this vinyl is assuredly even more limited than the cd version.
MPEG Stream: "North Star"
MPEG Stream: "The Last 3 Human Words"

MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. What Comes After The Blues (Secretly Canadian) cd 14.98
Regardless of under which moniker he chooses to release his music, you'll usually find Mr. Jason Molina's recordings falling into one of two baskets -- his threadbare, rumpled melancholia or his considerably more fleshed out tavern rock. For this, the official studio recorded debut of his new band Magnolia Electric Co., he's found a fine middle ground. Molina mellows out the Co's electricity ever so gently on What Comes After The Blues, and the results are a startlingly Neil Young-ish album. For those of you who were looking forward to more Magnolia Electric Co. bootstompers like those on their recent now-out-of-print live album Trials & Errors, sorry, these are more along the lines of mid-tempo weep-in-your-beer numbers. The already-heavy-hearted songs are made even more achingly lovely by the addition of the equally forlorn trumpet, violin and guest female vocals courtesy of Jennie Benford of Jim & Jennie And The Pinetops. Definitely check out the Jennie-sung second song "The Night Shift Lullaby".
MPEG Stream: "The Dark Don't Hide It"
MPEG Stream: "The Night Shift Lullaby "

album cover MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. What Comes After The Blues (Secretly Canadian) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Regardless of under which moniker he chooses to release his music, you'll usually find Mr. Jason Molina's recordings falling into one of two baskets -- his threadbare, rumpled melancholia or his considerably more fleshed out tavern rock. For this, the official studio recorded debut of his new band Magnolia Electric Co., he's found a fine middle ground. Molina mellows out the Co's electricity ever so gently on What Comes After The Blues, and the results are a startlingly Neil Young-ish album. For those of you who were looking forward to more Magnolia Electric Co. bootstompers like those on their recent now-out-of-print live album Trials & Errors, sorry, these are more along the lines of mid-tempo weep-in-your-beer numbers. The already-heavy-hearted songs are made even more achingly lovely by the addition of the equally forlorn trumpet, violin and guest female vocals courtesy of Jennie Benford of Jim & Jennie And The Pinetops. Definitely check out the Jennie-sung second song "The Night Shift Lullaby".
MPEG Stream: "The Dark Don't Hide It"
MPEG Stream: "The Night Shift Lullaby "

album cover MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO., THE Hard To Love A Man (Secretly Canadian) cd ep 9.98
Sticking with his Magnolia Electric Co. moniker, Mr. Jason Molina (aka Songs: Ohia) follows up his last full length What Comes After The Blues with this new five-song EP. The first four tunes are of his trademark beleaguered, drown your sorrows folk stylings, while for the fifth Molina does his best Warren Zevon on a rendition of "Werewolves Of London". Aaawoooooo!
MPEG Stream: "Hard To Love A Man"
MPEG Stream: "Werewolves Of London"

MAGNOLIA SISTERS Prends Courage (Arhoolie) cd 15.98

MAGNOLIA THUNDERPUSSY Starin' Down The Sun (Mar Vista) cd 14.98

MAGNUSON, ANN In the Luv Show (Geffen) cd 14.98
Ex-Bongwater. Kramer must be weeping.

album cover MAGNUSSON, RUNAR The Art Of Dying In A Live Situation (Whitelabel) cd-r 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Runar Magnusson hails from Iceland, although he is now living in Copenhagen where he has quietly been producing some of the oddest electronica to pass through the store. Certainly if you've been infected by the viral sounds of Fflint Central or the electro-absurditites of Stilluppsteypa, Magnusson's work is something to check out. That said, the album opens on unsteady grounds as fellow Icelander Asmundur Asmundsson warbles drunkenly through the words to Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side," but as grim drones absorb the voice into the folds of grey vibrations, distant rumblings, and creepy electro-acoustic spasms, The Art Of Dying begins to live up to its name. An isolationist drift and shadow continues for a bit more than 35 minutes before Magnusson introduces a tumbling post-New Wave kaleidoscope of arpeggiated electronics that sounds like the dark sides of Fad Gadget and Heldon melded into a radioactive rhythmic cascade. After this incredible crescendo to the album, Asmundsson returns with another a capella clunker; for his finale, "We Are The World." Disturbing in more ways than one.
MPEG Stream: "The Art Of Dying In A Live Situation (excerpt 1)"
MPEG Stream: "The Art Of Dying In A Live Situation (excerpt 2)"
MPEG Stream: "The Art Of Dying In A Live Situation (excerpt 3)"

album cover MAGYAR POSSE Kings Of Time (Verdura) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At long, long last the first two albums by this big AQ fave are back in stock!! Good timing too 'cause there's a brand new album called Random Avenger peeking up over the horizon!
Finnish post-rock heavyweights Magyar Posse return with a second, even better, album. Like their first, We Will Carry You Over The Mountains, Kings of Time will appeal first and foremost to fans of God Speed You Black Emperor and/or Mogwai. And while these comparisons may be a double-edged sword for Magyar Posse, the blade that cuts closest -- that of being seen as derivative -- might as well be a butter knife. Truthfully, Magyar Posse outdo what others have done before them. They're like the Alban Berg or Anton Webern of post-rock to Tortoise or GSYBE's Arnold Schoenberg. Kings of Time is an instrumental concept album on par with Pink Floyd, or an epic soundtrack worthy of Ennio Morricone's tip of the hat. Using a plethora of instrumental variations, from sparse reverb laden guitar to full blown orchestral arrangements of epic proportions -- all modern recording studio wizardry, Magyar Posse recontextualize leit motifs, and develop melodies like no one else in the post rock camp can. Reminiscent at times of Morricone's spaghetti western soundtracks they incorporate cooing wordless vocals into the mix with the utmost in subtlety. If some filmmaker doesn't snatch this band up to write a soundtrack to their film soon, we'll be really surprised. Completely amazing.
MPEG Stream: "Kings of Time, Track 2"
MPEG Stream: "Kings of Time, Track 5"

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