Enter to Win Stephin Merritt Standee and Magnetic Fields "50 Song Memoir" Vinyl Set

The Magnetic Fields50 Song Memoir tour is on. Having stopped for two nights each in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia last week, the tour heads next to the Carolina Theatre in Durham this Tuesday and Wednesday. Given that the 50 Song Memoir album and tour chronicle the 50 years of songwriter Stephin Merritt's life with one song per year, we thought you might like to take home even more Merritt, so we're giving away both a copy of the 5-LP vinyl set and a life-sized Stephin Merritt standee!

For your chance to win, simply follow these three easy steps:

1. Visit the merch table at any stop on the US tour

2. Take a selfie with the cardboard Stephin standee standing there

3. Post the pic to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hashtag #StephinStandee.

Can't make it to a show? Tour not coming to your town? Sorry if we missed you, Philly and DC. To enter, you can print out this photo of Stephin at home (it doesn't need to be life-sized!), then follow steps 2 and 3 above. Stephin will pick a winner after the US tour ends on May 7.

Magnetic Fields announce UK and Dublin, IRE tour dates

The Magnetic Fields have announced a limited number of "50 Song Memoir" tour dates around the UK, and Dublin, Ireland in late summer, 2017. The two-night performances will commence on 25+26 August at the Edinburgh International Festival, and end on 9+10 September at London's Barbican Theatre. Along with their June, 2017, appearance at Primavera Festival in Barcelona, these are the only European tour dates that the band has planned this year. To see their full tour schedule, visit the calendar.

August 25 & 26 - Edinburgh, UK - Kings Theatre
August 28 & 29 - Dublin, IRE - The National Concert Hall
August 31 & September 1 - Bristol, UK - Colston Hall
September 3 & 4 - Liverpool, UK - Philharmonic Hall
September 7 & 8 - Brighton, UK - Dome
September 9 & 10 - London, UK - Barbican
 

"50 Song Memoir," A Musical Exploration of Composer Stephin Merritt’s Life Is Out Now

The Magnetic Fields 50 Song Memoir is out now on Nonesuch Records. The five-CD / five-LP set chronicles the 50 years of songwriter Stephin Merritt’s life with one song per year; it was produced by Stephin Merritt with additional production by Thomas Bartlett and Charles Newman. 50 Song Memoir is available in five-LP and five-CD editions including an extensive interview by Daniel Handler and facsimile handwritten lyrics by Merritt. To pick up a copy, head to iTunesAmazon, or the Nonesuch Store, where it is also available as a standalone bound book with a full-album download card. You can also hear selections from the album on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.

The video for the album track "'68 A Cat Called Dionysus" premiered today and can be seen below. Directed by José Zayas & Alex Basco Koch, the video features illustrations by Alexander Petrowsky and animation by John Erickson and was produced by Ghost Corporeal. It was originally created for the Magnetic Fields' 50 Song Memoir concert tour directed by Zayas. The tour, featuring the songs of the album over two nights per city in a stage extravaganza, gets into full swing on March 15; full schedule is on the tour page.

The reviews are rolling in:

It's "quite an achievement," says NPR Music. "Some of its wordplay is truly remarkable ... More importantly, Memoir is a tour-de-farce of melody and arrangement." Merritt spoke with NPR's Morning Edition about the project, his love for ABBA, and more; you can hear what he had to say at npr.org.

"[T]he story of his life sounds a lot like a Magnetic Fields album, and a very good one at that," writes Pitchfork's Sam Sodomsky. "50 Song Memoir is an immersive, incisive listen ... It suggests that our deepest wisdom can be located in our most personal thoughts." The review concludes that Merritt's creating this new collection has left "his catalog 50 songs richer as a result."

The new collection is "a highly entertaining summary of pop culture of the past half-century," says the Wall Street Journal's Jim Fusilli. "50 Song Memoir is a treat ... The album is a generous gift to those who seek to know more about its composer or simply share a journey through a half-century with a wry but ultimately amiable guide."

"Really, it is a celebration of Merritt’s sky-high range as a writer and a player, through the exploration of the circumstances that helped cultivate it," writes New York magazine's Vulture reviewer Craig Jenkins. "50 Song Memoir is a chance for Merritt to nail his memories down in an indelible document, a delightful flip through the untold back pages of one of rock’s most singular voices, and, all in all, the best damned Magnetic Fields album in the last ten years."

"Stephin Merritt is a genius," exclaims Exclaim! reviewer Sarah Greene, who gives the album a nine. "[W]hat lingers, along with the musical brilliance and uncharacteristic openness of his 50 Song Memoir, is Merritt's humour; his distinctive baritone delivering countless witty sardonic kernels, sometimes assisted by a well-timed dramatic pause, all wrapped up in catchy, unforgettable songs."

The Independent's i gives the album a perfect five stars, naming it Album of the Week. "Growing up smart, inquisitive and gay through a time of turbulent social change," writes the Independent's Andy Gill, "Merritt’s refracted reminiscences frequently offer thoughtful and incisive insights into bigger issues, and with deceptive sleight of story."

The Guardian gives the album four stars, with reviewer Dave Simpson saying that "the music evolves from a solitary ukulele to richly observed baroque new wave and operatic synthpop, all with terrific tunes. It’s an album worthy of Merritt’s grand half-century."

The Evening Standard gives four stars to this "extraordinary achievement." The Scotsman made 50 Song Memoir its Album of the Week, giving it four stars as well. It's "50 witty and wide-ranging vignettes," writes reviewer Fiona Shepherd, "[a] delightful chronicle of a life lived imaginatively." The Irish Times gives it four stars too, declaring it a "triumph."

Loud and Quiet gives the album a nine out of ten, exclaiming: "50 Song Memoir is a true triumph."

"Merritt's skill of finding the exact turn of phrase to underscore a feeling is one that few achieve," says Consequence of Sound's David Sackllah, "and watching him turn that inward is illuminating."

The Magnetic Fields Unveil Video for "'81 How to Play the Synthesizer"

  • The Magnetic Fields, whose new album, 50 Song Memoir, is due March 10 on Nonesuch, have unveiled the video for the album track "'81 How to Play the Synthesizer," via its YouTube channel. The song, which may be downloaded now with pre-orders of the album on iTunes and the Nonesuch Store, is one of fifty on the five-disc set that chronicles the fifty years of songwriter Stephin Merritt's life with one song per year. You can watch it below.

    The video was directed by John Erickson, Alex Basco Koch, and José Zayas and produced by Ghost Corporeal. It was originally created for the Magnetic Fields' 50 Song Memoir concert tour directed by Zayas. Audiences across the United States can have a look at all of the great visuals that are part of the stage extravaganza in person when the tour begins in full swing on March 15. For tickets, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    For another sneak peek at the live show's visuals, the fifty-day countdown to the album's release continues on the band's FacebookTwitter, and Instagram accounts.

    50 Song Memoir may be pre-ordered now at iTunes and in the Nonesuch Store, where "'81 How to Play the Synthesizer," "'83 Foxx and I," and one song from each of the five decades of Merritt's life may be downloaded immediately. 50 Song Memoir is available in five-LP and five-CD editions including an extensive interview by Daniel Handler and facsimile handwritten lyrics by Merritt, and as a standalone bound book with a full-album download card. For a limited time, pre-orders at the Nonesuch Store also come with an exclusive print signed by Merritt.

     

     

The Magnetic Fields Unveil Video for "'83 Foxx and I" from "50 Song Memoir"

  • The Magnetic Fields, whose new album, 50 Song Memoir, is due March 10 on Nonesuch, have unveiled the video for the album track "'83 Foxx and I," via its new official YouTube channel. The song, which may be downloaded now with pre-orders of the album on iTunes and the Nonesuch Store, is one of fifty on the five-disc set that chronicles the fifty years of songwriter Stephin Merritt's life with one song per year. You can watch it below.

    The video was directed by Alex Basco Koch and produced by José Zayas for Ghost Corporeal. It was originally created for the Magnetic Fields' 50 Song Memoir concert tour directed by Zayas. Fans at the first performances of the piece at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) last year got an early look at the great visuals that are part of the stage extravaganza. Audiences across the country can catch them in person as well, when the tour begins in full swing on March 15. For tickets, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    For another sneak peek at the live show's visuals, the band has begun a visual fifty-day countdown to the album's release on its FacebookTwitter, and Instagram accounts.

    50 Song Memoir is available to pre-order now at iTunes and in the Nonesuch Store, where "'83 Foxx and I" plus one song from each decade of Merritt's life may be downloaded immediately: "'74: No," "'86: How I Failed Ethics," "'93: Me and Fred and Dave and Ted," "'02: Be True to Your Bar," and "'13: Big Enough for Both of Us." 50 Song Memoir is available in five-LP and five-CD editions including an extensive interview by Daniel Handler and facsimile handwritten lyrics by Merritt, and as a standalone bound book with a full-album download card. For a limited time, pre-orders at the Nonesuch Store also come with an exclusive print signed by Merritt.

     

Nonesuch to release 50 Song Memoir in March, 2017

Nonesuch Records will be releasing the new Magnetic Fields album, 50 Song Memoir, on March 10, 2017. This 50-song, 5 disc recording chronicles the 50 years of Stephin Merritt's life with one song per year. Pre-orders are available now. 

50 Song Memoir is available in five-LP and five-CD editions, including an extensive interview by Daniel Handler and facsimile handwritten lyrics by Merritt, and as a standalone bound book with a full-album download card. For a limited time, pre-orders at the Nonesuch Store also come with an exclusive print signed by Merritt.

50 Song Memoir is available to pre-order now at iTunes and at nonesuch.com, where one song from each decade of Merritt’s life may be downloaded immediately. 

These five songs may also be heard here:

MAGNETIC FIELDS ROLL OUT 2017 US TOUR SCHEDULE FOR 50 SONG MEMOIR

The Magnetic Fields are delighted to announce their 2016-2017 US tour schedule. They will be performing around the country in support of their forthcoming multi-disc album, 50 Song Memoir, to be released Spring 2017 on Nonesuch Records. This 50-song series will be performed over two nights in each city (songs #1-25 on night 1, songs #26-50 on night 2). 

The quintet turned septet is working with director Jose Zayas (Love in the Time of Cholera), along with a crew of projection, sets and lighting designers to create this fully staged, special concert series. The concerts will premiere at Mass MoCA on November 18-19, 2016, and then head to Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “Next Wave” festival on December 2-3, 2016. 

Following the two 2016 pre-album release performances, the band will then perform around the US, beginning in March 2017. See below for full the band’s 2017 schedule (note: Boston performances will be announced at a later date). Tickets for the Philadelphia, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Oakland, and Portland shows go on sale Friday. All others are on sale now. For information on tickets, please visit our calendar page. 

First two Magnetic Fields albums to be released on vinyl for the first time

The Magnetic Fields’ first two albums, The Wayward Bus and Distant Plastic Trees, will make their debut appearance on vinyl in December 2016, packaged together as a two-LP set.

Distant Plastic Trees, the Magnetic Fields’ first album, was originally released in England and Japan in 1991. Merritt’s accordion player, the novelist Daniel Handler, later noted that “this tinny and intimate recording, in quiet defiance of the reigning roar of pop music, recalls both the early, scratchy field recordings of folk music and the first experiments in electronic music—precisely the sort of stylistic balance the Magnetic Fields liked to achieve.” The album includes the early-’90s college radio single “100,000 Fireflies” which had earlier appeared as a single on Harriet Records and was later covered by Superchunk.

For its domestic debut, Distant Plastic Trees was paired with the Magnetic Fields’ 1992 album The Wayward Bus on a single CD that came out on the band’s own PoPuP Records imprint before its re-release on Merge in 1994. While both albums feature singer Susan Anway (formerly of early-’80s Boston punk band V;), the latter introduced several new players who would subsequently make regular appearances on Merritt’s various musical projects. As Handler explained, “The Wayward Bus adds cellist Sam Davol, tuba player Johny Blood and percussionist Claudia Gonson to create a plinky, orchestral sound in tribute to pop producer Phil Spector and his ‘Wall of Sound.’”

The album artwork on both Distant Plastic Trees and The Wayward Bus was created by watercolorist Wendy Smith. Her beautiful wrap-around paintings, now printed in a larger format, along with remastered audio make this two-LP set an exciting addition to the Magnetic Fields discography.

Preorder information can be found over at Merge Records. 

MAGNETIC FIELDS PERFORM INAUGURAL CONCERTS AT MASS MoCA

***ON SALE TODAY!***
The Magnetic Fields' will perform their very first shows of their 2016-2017 tour at MASS MoCA, in North Adams, Massachusetts, on Nov 18+19, 2016. 

 

Get your tickets here for these exclusive performances, which take place in advance of the album release on Nonesuch in early 2017. 

Be the first to hear the entirety of their new album, 50 Song Memoir, performed over two nights, by a new, expanded band!

BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC CONCERTS ON SALE AUGUST 1st, 2016

New York area friends- 

General ticket sales go LIVE on Monday, August 1st for The Magnetic Fields 2-day concert at BAM Next Wave Festival on December 2+3, 2016. 

Note: these New York shows are likely to sell out. 

Additional note- The two nights are completely separate programs of music. Both nights together will comprise the upcoming album, "50 Song Memoir," which will be released in early 2017 on Nonesuch Records. 

To purchase tickets for the BAM shows, visit the following links. 
PROGRAM A: http://www.bam.org/music/2016/50-song-memoir-a
PROGRAM B: http://www.bam.org/music/2016/50-song-memoir-b

We hope to see you there!
Sincerely,

The Magnetic Fields

MAGNETIC FIELDS "50 SONG MEMOIR"- ALBUM AND TOUR

stephinstudio.jpg

Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields are hard at work at a long album, entitled "50 Song Memoir." It is projected for release by Nonesuch Records in the start of 2017. We will update you with more album release information over the next months. 

Additionally, the band will be performing live, starting at the end of 2016, and throughout 2017. 

Here is ticket information for the first three announced shows:

Brooklyn Academy of Music - Brooklyn, NY
Program A - December 2nd, 2016
Program B - December 3rd, 2016

Royce Hall, UCLA - Los Angeles, CA
Program A - April 27th, 2017
Program B - April 28th, 2017

Moore Theater - Seattle, WA
Program A - May 6th, 2017
Program B - May 7th, 2017

More tour dates and album information to follow! Stay tuned!

 

MERGE RECORDS ANNOUNCES "69 LOVE SONGS" VINYL RE-RELEASE

Merge records announced today that they will reissue the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs on vinyl on November 6, 2015. 

The limited-edition 10-inch box set includes six records—2 black, 2 red, and 2 clear—housed in a sturdy slipcase along with a full-size, 24-page color booklet featuring liner notes written by author Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket.

The first 1,000 preorders will receive limited-edition colored vinyl. Preorders will ship to arrive on or around the release date of November 6.
 

To preorder the record, visit http://www.mergerecords.com/69-love-songs-lp-reissue.

STEPHIN MERRITT TO PERFORM TWO EAST COAST SHOWS IN NOVEMBER

Photo by Bridget Bennett for MPR

Photo by Bridget Bennett for MPR

Stephin Merritt, along with Sam Davol, will perform his 26-song set in alphabetical order, in his home town of New York City, on November 14 at City Winery. Presale tickets for VinoFile and Brooklyn Vegan members are available here. 

Regular tickets are on sale 9/3. 

Stephin and Sam are also performing at Mass MOCA, on November 21. Tickets available here.

TWO STEPHIN MERRITT MICRO-SONGS

Stephin Merritt recently composed two micro-songs entitled "Lo" and "La". The micro-songs are based on two poems from "101 Two Letter Words," Stephin's homage to the smallest words recognized by Scrabble. "Lo" and "La" were commissioned by Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts and were dedicated to a rat terrier named Lola. Videos of Stephin performing "Lo" and "La" to Lola can be viewed here. 

 

STEPHIN MERRITT TO DO TWO EVENTS AT "TWENTY SUMMERS AT THE BARN" IN PROVINCETOWN

As part of his upcoming tour, Stephin Merritt will appear in two events as part of the "Twenty Summers at the Barn" festival in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The first on Friday June 5, is a book event for "101 Two Letter Words," Stephin's poetic homage to the smallest words in the Scrabble Dictionary. Merritt will be in conversation with the poet Rives, reading passages from the book and discussing it together. Tickets are available here.

The second performance, on June 6, will be a solo show with Sam Davol on cello. He will perform 26 songs in alphabetical order in an exclusive and elegant setting, in front of only 75 people. Tickets are available here.

For further info and ticket purchase, visit The Barn's website.

STEPHIN MERRITT WILL TOUR the U.S.A. in MAY + JUNE, 2015

Stephin Merritt will embark on a rare solo tour of the U.S.A. starting May 2nd, 2015, accompanied by long-time bandmate Sam Davol on cello. The duo will play 14 dates across the country, including two dates in Los Angeles and shows in Washington, D.C.; Austin; San Francisco and more. Visit the calendar for the tour itinerary and ticket information.

For this series of intimate performances, Merritt will present a set of solo, acoustic versions of selected songs from his wide ranging catalog. As a framework, Merritt plans to perform 26 of his songs in alphabetical order. Will he begin with "Absolutely Cuckoo" or "A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off," or...? Will he end with "Zebra" or "Zombie Boy," or...? You'll find out!

Stephin Merritt Pens Original Score for This American Life

Stephin Merritt's original score for a segment of This American Life, episode 541; "Regrets, I've had a Few", aired on Dec 5, 2014 and can be heard here

The band has also made the music available for download. Listen below or download via Stephin's Bandcamp site.