Tag Archives: The Magnetic Fields

Interview: The Silent Comedy

The Silent Comedy are on a roll. Thanks to their high-energy performances and whiskey-soaked songwriting, the San Diego band has amassed a passionate following, repeatedly selling out the Casbah as if it were their grandma’s basement. The stylish six-piece will return to the venue on April 2nd to celebrate the release of their sophomore album, Common Faults. We sat down with verbose singer/keyboardist Jeremiah Zimmerman to discuss the album, the problems with consumerism, and the band’s love of mustaches. Continue reading

The Magnetic Fields Get ‘Real’

The Magnetic Fields - RealismThe Magnetic Fields are their own worst enemy. Beginning with 1991’s Distant Plastic Trees and ascending through classic albums Holiday and The Charm of the Highway Strip, the quality of the band’s output finally crescendoed to dizzying heights with 1999’s ambitious, unparalleled opus 69 Love Songs.

The monstrous album was so brilliantly exhaustive, and set the bar so impossibly high, that any followup from the band was destined to feel inconsequential by comparison. Songwriter Stephin Merrit sidestepped that problem by making his post-69 works, 2004’s I and 2008’s Distortion, intentionally microscopic. Whether starting all of his song titles with the same letter or dousing his compositions in uncharacteristic amounts of fuzz, Merrit has relied on thematic gimmicks to help neutralize high expectations. Continue reading

Boy Without God Has “Soul” (MP3)

Boy Without God

Within seconds of hearing Gabriel Birnbaum’s deep, syrupy vocals, several names spring to mind. Evoking Magnetic Fields singer Stephen Merrit, but with the folksy croon of Handsome Family vocalist Brett Sparks and the slurred swagger of Elvis Costello, Birnbaum draws from a plethora of influences for his solo project, Boy Without God.

Though a mere 23 years old, Boston native Birnbaum has already paid his dues in bands like Catholic Skin, The Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Drug Rug, Eli Reed, and The Tiny Tornadoes. He opted for the solo artist route in 2006, and has since released six home-recorded EPs and two full-length albums under the Boy Without God moniker. His newest album, Your Body Is Your Soul, finds Birnbaum pairing low vocals with high fidelity, spinning his acoustic tales of love and inadequacy into buoyant, witty, and touching meditations.

For your downloading pleasure, we’ve got the endlessly catchy and charming ditty “If You” and the Xiu Xiu-esque, slightly batshit “Holy Holy Little Fist“. You can also read CMJ’s interview with Birnbaum here.