Random angry musings for today

I am refusing to watch the LOST premiere because I have dinner plans in an hour and don't want to get up and leave in the middle of it. The rain outside is also exceedingly gross and thick for a semi-warm January night, making me want to skip my dinner plans and stay home to watch LOST. Since I am incapable of making decisions, I am going to go with the pre-planned plans, and watch LOST another time.

This afternoon, I went suit shopping because I have some interviews coming up. I hate shopping and I hate suits. About halfway through the mall (I hate malls), I was about ready to give up. The usual suspects did not have anything remotely interview-appropriate.

Aside: WHEN did Austin Powers start designing clothes for J. Crew? And WHY was J. Crew playing Girl Talk? And WHY was Abercrombie playing CHER? I didn't go into Abercrombie. I've actually never been inside of one, and would like to keep it that way. I could just hear the music from about 1500 feet away.

I emerged with the worst suit ever. Hopefully, I will not ever be seen in it outside of interviews. Ever. Hopefully I will find a better suit, magically, in the next few days, and not even have to wear it. I hate that stupid suit. I hate the stupid shoes I have to wear with the stupid suit. I hate the stupid rain.

Since I haven't posted MP3's in awhile, some songs I listened to today to relieve some anger:

Islands: The Arm
The Pharmacy: Comic Book
Evangelicals: Here in the Deadlights

i search for my hands in the dark and i can't see a thing at all and i don't think you even care

I still don't have time to write much, but I thought I'd share a couple of things:

1. LD Beghtol explains Distortion, but mostly talks about production. Hear the NPR podcast here.

2. If you haven't already acquired The Evangelicals' new record, The Evening Descends, do it ASAP. Imagine The Microphones on acid throwing a Halloween party in a field full of fireflies, where the members of Grandaddy, The Cure, and Band of Horses rock out to The Faint and then everyone has a food fight involving green slime and candy eyeballs. There is a strobe light, and Jeff Magnum with a video camera taping the whole thing, and at the end, they all watch the video and make an album about it.


Scrabulous, etc.

Someone write a song about it. Listen to it here. Hilarious.

Still working on my Distortion review and a few other things. Will be back soon hopefully.


Post-Distortion post I

I am pretty busy/need to listen to Distortion a bunch more before I can write a review. Hopefully by Tuesday. Until then, a few observations:

1. I accidentally played the album backwards (by track listing), which produced quite a different effect. A few years ago, someone posted an interview to Stephinsongs about SM playing around with track listings and I've done that myself with a couple of the albums. I'm still working on a full re-track-listing of 69 Love Songs. Anyways, try it backwards. "Courtesans" and "Zombie Boy" build the whole thing up pretty nicely, and "Three Way" is sort of a happy ending. :)

2. Many many thanks to Wuxtry, who saved me a promo copy of Distortion to tide me over until Amazon got their stuff together and sent me the copy I originally ordered. You would think pre-ordering would mean that it would get there on time, but, if not for Wuxtry, I would have had to wait another week, at least.

Have a good weekend. Mine is going to be brutally unfun.


1 day til Distortion

...and there is a new Stephin Merritt wiki!

You're So Technical is the creation of Nigel Ewan, who has been asking for help choosing a name on the Stephinsongs mailing list for awhile.

As far as I can tell it doesn't have any content yet, so join up and contribute!

Also, can I just say:

hurray! I get to listen to Distortion in the morning!!!!

If you haven't experienced this...

...you have no idea what it feels like to be vulnerable.


2 days til Distortion

I've been slowly preparing myself for the release of Distortion. The full album is streaming on The Magnetic Fields' Myspace page, but it just doesn't seem right to listen to it yet. Admittedly, this is not how I expected to be feeling on the eve of the release of a new album by the band that has been my favorite for over a decade, but it is what it is. I have cheated a few times and listened to parts of various songs, but never all the way through. I want to experience the whole thing for the first time, as a unit, on my iPod in an appropriate setting.

I took some time yesterday to listen to the Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy, which Stephin Merritt cites as Distortion's most direct influence. The last time I listened to JAMC was probably right around when I discovered The Magnetic Fields, but I think my auditory palate was too immature then to notice the similarities. Suddenly, all those weird sounds in songs like "Torn Green Velvet Eyes" make so much more sense. In fact, I don't think an album like Holiday or Get Lost would have existed before Psychocandy and that is what makes the release of Distortion so significant--it pays homage to the inaugural moment of what has been there all along. Not to mention, if you took away all of the distortion in Psychocandy, you would basically have every Beat Happening album of the 80's.

The Jesus and Mary Chain: Some Candy Talking
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Inside Me

The Work Rotation

I have shamefully few things to say about anything these days, maybe because I'm back to that extremely sleep deprived state in which nothing makes sense and I make bad decisions. Probably also because of the enormous amount of work I have to do. So this time, I won't write much and just share a few MP3's. If you read this blog, you've probably heard me refer to the "work rotation" quite a few times. The Work Rotation consists of music that I can listen to while reading, writing, processing things, and doing the random administrative tasks that go along with my job without getting distracted by the desire to sing along, tap my foot, dance, etc. etc. Pretty much everything in the Rotation is of the post-rock, prog-rock, or ambient variety. The rules for the playlist are that I have to add whole albums, not single songs, to lengthen the time it takes to play everything and avoid repetition. This is also because, while distinct, a lot of these artists start to sound like each other after awhile, so I like to break them apart from each other with big chunks of coordinated sound.

I added a whole bunch of things to the Rotation this week after my friend, Eli, suggested a last.fm "similar artists" station for me to listen to. If you haven't done this before, you should try it using the last.fm desktop client. It lets you create playlists and save songs you like to listen to later. If you are a last.fm user, you also have your own station that other people can listen to that basically just consists of songs from your favorite bands.

So here are some new and old things from the Rotation, perhaps to aid in your productivity, or just musical enjoyment:

The Timeout Drawer: broad grins from the boarding

Boards of Canada: Telephasic Workshop

Do Make Say Think: White Light of

Explosions in the Sky: Yasmin the Light

Hauschka: Watercolour Milk

The Microphones: You were in the air

A Silver Mt. Zion: More Action! Less Tears!

Stars of the Lid: That Finger on your Temple is the Barrel of my Raygun

Johnnytwentythree: Last Exit

Paego Paego: Life as a Camera Sees it
Contact them about buying the album

Let the Airplanes Circle Overhead: I Laughed Until I Stopped Laughing

CtrlAltDelete: All Our Greatest Memories Are in Sepia


total void tells me stories/ sometimes they make me sorry

I've learned more in the last two weeks about how topsy-turvy life can be than in the last three months combined. It has gotten to be comical, even, how tragic things can happen alongside other moments of extreme joy or pride. I guess what I've learned is that loss and vulnerability are sprinkled all over everything else to make life and the world seem more real. I can feel devastated but my life still has value, and at least I feel something, which, I guess, is all I can really ask for. Beneath all of the stupid human drama of relationships and friendships and things that don't quite fit into either one, there are a few things that are still authentic and worth saving because nothing else even compares to how complete they make you feel.

A few songs that have probably changed my life, for better or for worse, the last two weeks:

Islands: Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby
Beulah: Maroon Bible
Julie Delpy: Mr. Unhappy