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Music, Hear This The Yellow Dress: Show Preview

The Yellow Dress: Show Preview

If you were to take members of the Magnetic Fields, the Mountain Goats, and Los Campesinos, plunk them into the San Francisco lit scene for a few years, and tell them to write about heartbreak in a way that won't…
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Music, All Shook Down 20 Awesome Songs From 2012: A Spring/Break Playlist

20 Awesome Songs From 2012: A Spring/Break Playlist

Well, well. It's spring, we're a third of the way through 2012, the schoolkids will be let out for a week of madness soon (if not already) and so: It's time to round up the musical fruits the year…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Someone Racist Like You? Unpacking Stephin Merritt's Comments on Adele Fans

Someone Racist Like You? Unpacking Stephin Merritt's Comments on Adele Fans

Last week, singer Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields created a gossip-blog blip when an interview with LA Weekly revealed his belief that the popularity of Brit vocalist Adele is rooted in a racist fan base. Merritt expressed his general…
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Music, All Shook Down Live Review, 3/24/12: The Magnetic Fields Do Quirk Quietly at the Fox Theater

Live Review, 3/24/12: The Magnetic Fields Do Quirk Quietly at the Fox Theater

The Magnetic Fields Saturday, March 24, 2012 The Fox Theater, Oakland Better than: Whispering at the library. On Saturday, the Magnetic Fields gave the mellowest performance six people have ever given at the Fox Theater in Oakland. Well, anyway,…
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Calendar, Night&Day On Whirling Stages

On Whirling Stages

It's impossible to exaggerate the scale of Busby Berkeley's work: This is the man who gave us hundreds and hundreds of “girls,” arranged kaleidoscopically, simpering in unison. No one and nothing has approached the choreographer's successes of the 1930s Warner…
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Culture, Stage "Coraline": Even Stephin Merritt can't save SF Playhouse's disappointing musical

"Coraline": Even Stephin Merritt can't save SF Playhouse's disappointing musical

Sometimes an idea is so good that it can't get out of its own way. When I first heard about the musical adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel Coraline, I practically peed myself in spite of the hostile reviews dogging last…
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Music, Reviewing Noise Pop headliners' new CDs

Reviewing Noise Pop headliners' new CDs

Noise Pop offers opportunities to check out up-and-coming bands from home and abroad, but it's also a chance to hear established acts show off new wares. Get up to speed on the recent releases festival headliners will be supporting this…
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Calendar, Night&Day Merritt Based

Merritt Based

While Magnetic Fields mainstay Stephin Merritt hasn’t tried to duplicate the scope of 1999’s three-album set, 69 Love Songs, he hasn’t been been resting on his laurels, either. A trilogy of synth-free albums — i, Distortion, and January’s Realism —…
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Music, Let's Get Killed Talking Music series emphasizes the brains behind the songs

Talking Music series emphasizes the brains behind the songs

The entertainment at live shows is usually formulated into the same split: 90 percent music, 10 percent banter. Generally, that's a fine balance. Hearing some conversationally impaired frontman mumble bad jokes is a buzz kill. But every once in a…
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Music, Reviewed Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields

The earliest albums released by the Magnetic Fields (particularly 1995's Get Lost) featured burbling synth-pop in the vein of OMD and Soft Cell, long before such new-wave influences were prevalent or trendy. Perhaps that's why Distortion, the eighth Magnetic Fields…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Lady Genius

Shimmering, clean keyboards back up syncopated boy-girl harmonies for a harsh but pretty effect when Lady Genius takes the stage. Oh, sure, there's a plain guitar/bass/drum setup in there too, but this new local band is in the indie-wall-of-sound realm,…
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Music, Reviewed Snitches Get Stitches

Snitches Get Stitches

Snitches Get Stitches are definitely rotten, blistering, hardcore punks, and they prove it with their schoolyard-bully name, the appropriately sinister title of their album, song titles like "Skullsplitter," and decibel-shattering tributes to "sexy sellouts" on thrashers like "Koala Stars." But…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

It makes sense that Now It's Overhead would choose a Magnetic Fields cover ("The Book of Love") to complement the single for "Wait in Line," from this year's Fall Back Open, a warm, texture-rich combination of sparse drum-machine beats, sparkling…
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Music, Reviewed Portastatic

Portastatic

The name "Mac McCaughan" has become notorious in the indie-rock world for two reasons. Initially, it was because he fronted the quartet Superchunk, a group that first garnered attention in the mid-'90s with an upbeat brand of college-rock hooks and…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

What do you do after writing and recording 69 love songs, getting praised as the second coming of Cole Porter by the New York Times, and ending up on a gazillion Best Records of the Year lists? If you're the…
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Music, Pop Philosophy

Call the Zookeepers

You can't escape it. It's everywhere you go. Your hairstylist, your dentist, your proctologist -- they all want to know about this year's Noise Pop. And if you grumble and grouse and say, "There's really nothing to see this year,"…
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Music, Computer Dreaming

Computer Dreaming

Although Figurine recorded its first songs in 1995, the band didn't release its debut album, Transportation + Communication = Love, until the summer of 1999. Even then, the record's goofy '80s-style songs -- full of fuzzy synths, deadpan vocals, and…
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Music, The 6ths

The 6ths

By all accounts, Magnetic Fields main man Stephin Merritt is indie pop's ultimate renaissance man -- Irving Berlin, Leonard Cohen, and the Human League all rolled into one. Merritt is an old-fashioned songsmith who uses '80s retro synth-pop to bridge…
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Music, House of Tudor House Of Tudor

House Of Tudor

Stephin Merritt is like the Irving Berlin of the indie-rock world. I only mean that he is a songwriter who writes songs for singers, often other than himself (in the case of his group the 6ths, never himself and never…
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