susan anway: I’m presently listening to the wayward bus/distant plastic trees cd for the 1000th time – give or take a hundred. it’s the first magnetic fields collection that I fell in love with, and the record I’ve shared the most with close friends and passersby. (back in the day, I think I bought a handful and gave them away in an effort to impress its brilliance upon everyone I could.) susan anway’s voice was a huge reason why. like many fans, my introduction to the band probably came via the “100,000 fireflies” single. not long before – or after – I saw the ramshackle orchestra that was the magnetic fields live band at the time, with stephin singing. I remember really enjoying them, well enough to buy the cd when it became available and was completely blown away by the songs, the instrumentation, but most of all – feeling deeply moved by susan’s voice. she had the perfect mix of sweetness and world-weariness – so well-suited to the diversity of songs. it would be impossible for me to pick a favorite vocal performance from this record – all of it: the mournful appalachian ballads (“tar heel boy”), the synthetic disco pop (“tokyo a’ go-go”)…resonates equally. there’s magic in the songwriting and recording for sure – but for someone i’ve never met, the impression she left on me is deep and long-lasting.
michael nesmith was the singer of my favorite monkees songs (“don’t call on me” & “what am i doing hangin’ round”) – but I never heard those songs when I was young. the song of his I knew and loved best for years and years was his 1970 single “joanne.” I think mainly because I’ve always loved melancholic & melodramatic songs and singers – that song affected young me as much as anything by roy orbison. I don’t remember exactly how i got there – but at some point I discovered his 1972 album, archly titled and the hits just keep on coming. life is full of little sonic discoveries that leave you wondering how you had not heard a thing before now? from the haunting opening chords of “tomorrow & me” to the stomping closer “roll with the flow” – it’s a packed record in every way except for the instrumentation, featuring just michael and pedal steel player red rhodes. a record full of deep observations and seemingly simple songs that in a fairer world, would be given equal reverence to gene clark, or gram parsons’ best work.
Tae Won Yu & Rachel Carns formed this powerful union in New York via Olympia, WA, in 1989. This is their first-ever show in the UK. A double LP reissue of their early work, This Being the Ballad of Kicking Giant, Halo: NYC/Olympia 1989–1993, will come out on Drawing Room Records later this year. They rarely play live and haven’t played NYC in forever.
The Pacific Ocean was a NYC indie featuring Edward Baluyut (Versus), Connie Lovatt (Alkaline, Containe) and drummer Steve Pilgrim. They made two records for chickfactor’s flagship label (Enchanté Records) and haven’t played a show in ages.
Bridget St John is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for the three albums she recorded between 1969 and 1972 for John Peel’s Dandelion record label. Peel produced her debut album Ask Me No Questions. She has played at many chickfactor parties including CF20 in 2012 in both London and New York.
Honeybunch is an indiepop band from Providence, Rhode Island, formed in 1987 by Velvet Crush member Jeffrey Underhill. They have played at many chickfactor parties including CF20 in 2012.
is a Nashville-born, New York-based country music artist. A longtime DJ for WFMU, Ms. Cantrell has been making beautiful records since her debut, Not the Tremblin’ Kind, way back in Y2K. She was a friend and favorite of the late John Peel. Her most recent release, Laura Cantrell At The BBC, compiles the best of her UK radio performances from 2000-2005, tracing the arc of her rise as an Americana artist on the airwaves of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Joe Pernice has made a lot records with the Pernice Brothers, Scud Mountain Boys, The New Mendicants (with Norman Blake) and Roger Lion (with hip-hop producer Budo.) He is also a novelist and a TV writer. He and Joyce Linehan have owned Ashmont Records, Inc. in Dorchester, MA. since 1999.
Cotton Candy is Mark Robinson (from the bands Unrest, Air Miami, Grenadine, Flin Flon) and Evelyn Hurley (Blast Off Country Style). Their band, which is mostly a cappella, focuses on reinventing advertising jingles and other radio and TV commercials and PSAs. Mark and Evelyn also run the Teen-Beat label. We saw them recently in Portland and they were delightful and fun!