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Thursday, December 15th, 2011

I’d Go Anywhere With Hugh

The Magnetic Fields will pull you to The Bottom Of The Sea, hope to pull you to the edge of Lake Ontario

Photo By Marcelo KrasilcicMarcelo KrasilcicThe Magnetic Fields are back. But wait, you might argue, they never really went away. Sure, three albums in the past decade doesn’t really match the rate of output that Stephin Merritt was maintaining in the ’90s – particularly when you take into account his other projects – but it ain’t nothing. And yet it’s accurate on many levels that The Magnetic Fields are back: they’re back on Merge, the label that released their greatest records including the risky and magnificent 69 Love Songs, after a decade on Nonesuch; they’re back to their signature mix of synths and acoustic instruments after largely abandoning keys and the like on those last few albums in favour of strictly electric and acoustic arrangements; and they’re back with a new record that makes both these points salient on March 6 with Love At The Bottom Of The Sea. Their last few records got mixed reviews, but with the number of resets that seem to accompany this one, it’s hard not to be a little optimistic.

And the band will also be back on the road immediately following the album’s release with an extensive itinerary that brings them to Toronto’s Sound Academy on March 30. It’s an interesting choice of venue considering their last couple visits have been at the acoustically sterling Queen Elizabeth Theatre in February 2010 and Trinity-St. Paul’s in July 2004, and the last thing that the everyone’s favourite lakeside shoebox can be accused of is being a sympathetic venue. But hey, maybe they’re going for the big rock show this time and they need somewhere they can set off pyrotechnics. In any case, tickets are $30 for floors and $37.50 for balconies, and while the fan pre-sale is on now, the Live Nation mobile app presale is Friday at 10 and the regular on-sale is Saturday.

There’s no preview track from the album available yet, but here’s a seasonal one from the last record and a classic one from 69 Love Songs.

MP3: The Magnetic Fields – “Everything Is One Big Christmas”
MP3: The Magnetic Fields – “The Book Of Love”

In other, “guess who’s coming to town” news, earnest folk-poppers The Head & The Heart will be in town on March 13 at The Opera House, tickets $18.50 in advance. Their last visit was back in February and considering how much their star has risen since then, I’m surprised it will have taken them over a year to make it back here. In any case, here’s a World Cafe session at NPR to hold you over until then.

MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Down In The Valley”
MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Lost In My Mind”

Also making a return engagement is EMA, last sighted hereabouts in July. No venue upgrade this time out – she’s at The Garrison again on March 13 – but considering that Past Life Martyred Saints will be showing up on at least a few year-end lists, expect this show to have a little less elbow room than that one. Tickets are $13.50 in advance and Rolling Stone has an interview.

MP3: EMA – “Milkman”
MP3: EMA – “The Grey Ship”

Texas family act Eisley will be in town to help kick of Canadian Musicfest, playing The Drake Underground on the Wednesday night, March 21. They’ll be touring both this year’s The Valley as well as a new EP entitled Deep Space, due out on February 14. Examiner.com has some info on the EP and their tour itinerary.

MP3: Eisley – “Smarter”
Video: Eisley – “The Valley”

Howler may hail from Minnesota, but their rough and retro garage rock is making them all kinds of fans in the UK. Their debut America Give Up is out January 17 and they’ve got a date at The Drake on April 5.

Video: Howler – “Back Of Your Neck”

Oh hey Cults are coming back. Look for them at The Phoenix on April 25, tickets $20 in advance.

MP3: Cults – “Most Wanted”
MP3: Cults – “Go Outside”

Bear In Heaven’s new album I Love You, It’s Cool isn’t out until April 3 but the band already has the whole thing up for stream on their website – it’s just slowed down by 400,000%. Pitchfork has the what and why, as well as tour dates which include a May 5 date at The Garrison, tickets $11.50 in advance. Here’s a track from 2007’s Red Bloom Of The Boom, played at regular speed.

MP3: Bear In Heaven – “Bag Of Bags”

NOW and hour.ca talk to St. Vincent’s Annie Clark in advance of tonight’s show at The Phoenix.

The Shins have announced details of their long-awaited new record. Port Of Morrow will be out in March – Pitchfork has some specifics.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Wilco, recorded at the band’s Chicago loft.

NPR has Beirut’s final show of the year from last night available to stream, or will shortly. Check back.

Steve Earle offers his thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement to Knoxville.com.

Spin talks to Sleigh Bells about their forthcoming Reign Of Terror, which begins February 14.

The Atlantic talks to the director of Okkervil River’s video for “Your Past Life As A Blast”.

The AV Club gets Bob Mould to go One-Track Mind interview/performance sessions with Sugar’s “Hoover Dam”.

Another new Guided By Voices track is available to stream; it’s a super-short b-side from “Donut For A Snowman” written by Tobin Sprout. Let’s Go Eat The Factory is out January 1.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “One Two Three Four”

Bill Janovitz, he of Buffalo Tom and many covers, has posted something special: a Tom Waits cover which is credited as, “featuring Tanya Donelly but in fact features he on lead vox throughout. Usually Bill gives his covers away, but this one is being made available via The Right Track for a minimum donation of $0.99 to TargetCancer. Do it, the cause is good, the track is beautiful and we don’t get to hear Tanya’s voice nearly enough these days. And speaking of Buffalo Tom, The Boston Globe and The Phoenix talk to them about marking their 25th anniversary as a band.

By : Frank Yang at 8:27 am
Category: General

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