Interview: The Magnetic Fields drops an emotional bathysphere

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[Photo by Matthew Williams taken at Hotel Americano, New York.]

The Magnetic Fields: Love at the Bottom of the SeaThe Magnetic Fields: Love at the Bottom of the Sea (Merge, 3/6/12)

“Andrew in Drag”

[audio:|titles=The Magnetic Fields: “Andrew in Drag”]

Stephin Merritt must have sonar. Whether helming The Magnetic Fields or penning songs for films and musicals, he finds depth in even the shallowest of topics and creates meaning by exploring meaninglessness. The title of his new, self-produced album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, hints at this process as it summons daydreams about mermaids, pirates, and amorous octopi.

Ape School

Review: Ape School’s Junior Violence

Ape School: Junior ViolenceApe School: Junior Violence (Hometapes, 8/7/12)

“Marijuana’s on the Phone”

Ape School: “Marijuana’s on the Phone”

The second full-length from Michael Johnson (formerly of Holopaw and The Lilys) is as strangely juxtaposed as his moniker, Ape School. Peculiar placements permeate Junior Violence — his first release for Hometapes — from its name to its song titles (“A New Low! It Sucks Itself!,” “Marijuana’s on the Phone,” and “Weak in the Teeth”) to the lyrics to the instrumentation.