The Magnetic Fields

WERS welcomes

The Magnetic Fields

DeVotchKa (Acoustic)

Fri, April 6, 2012

7:00 pm

Berklee Performance Center

Boston, MA

$32.50

This event is all ages

Tickets are available at BerkleeBPC.com or at the venue box office Mon-Sat 10AM - 6PM. Tickets are also available by phone during those hours by calling 617-747-2261.

The Magnetic Fields
The Magnetic Fields
The Magnetic Fields may be a bona fide band, but in most essential respects they are the project of studio wunderkind Stephin Merritt, who writes, produces, and (generally) sings all of the material. Merritt also plays many of the instruments, concocting a sort of indie pop synth rock. While the Magnetic Fields' albums draw upon the electronic textures of vintage acts like ABBA, Kraftwerk, Roxy Music with Eno, Joy Division, and Gary Numan, Merritt's vision is far more pointed toward the alternative rock underground. His songs are also far warmer and more purely pop-oriented than the above references indicate, sounding at times like late-20th century equivalents to the catalogs of Phil Spector or Brian Wilson.

Merritt began recording music on his own four-track at a young age, but he didn't issue the first Magnetic Fields album until 1990, when he was well into his twenties. The first pair of discs featured the choirgirl vocals of Susan Amway, but Merritt handled the vocals himself on most subsequent releases, singing in a deep croon not far removed from his European influences. The synth pop quotient also became heavier on those albums, although Merritt always took care to mix in quite a few natural instruments with the electronic ones, often with the help of Claudia Gonson (percussion) and Sam Davol (cello, flute). Throughout it all, an emphasis remained on the band's pop hooks and eccentric, romantically reflective lyrics rather than the bedrock synthetic rhythms and textures.

In addition to his work with Magnetic Fields, Merritt involved himself in several side projects over the years, the most notable being the 6ths' Wasps' Nests album in 1995. Merritt sang only one track himself on this disc, for which he acted as composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist, employing well-known alternative rock singers like Barbara Manning, Dean Wareham (Luna), Lou Barlow, Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo), Chris Knox, and Robert Scott (the Bats) to handle the lead vocals. After releasing 1997's New Despair as the Gothic Archies, Merritt finally returned to the Magnetic Fields aegis for 1999's 69 Love Songs, released as both a trio of separate discs as well as a limited edition three-CD box set. Merritt spent the next few years releasing more side projects, including records from the Gothic Archies, Future Bible Heroes, the 6ths, as well as numerous soundtracks. It wasn't until May 2004 that Merritt and his Magnetic Fields finally got around to making i, a collection of songs that begin with the aforementioned vowel. Distortion followed in early 2008; shortly thereafter, Merritt set to work on an acoustic folk-influenced album, Realism, which was released in January 2010.
DeVotchKa (Acoustic)
DeVotchKa (Acoustic)
For more than a decade, DeVotchKa has been melting its sweeping collection of influences into an authentic and totally original blend of rock 'n' roll. With the release of the band's fifth album, "100 Lovers" (Anti- Records, 2011), the band headed back to the romantic influences of the Arizona desert with producer Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Neko Case) to create a compendium of short stories inspired by the varied moments the band experienced since the release of A Mad & Faithful Telling (Anti-, 2007).

Like many bands, DeVotchKa spent much of their early years traveling the highways and byways searching for gigs and a musical direction. As time went on, the band began to foster important musical collaborations with the unequivocal Calexico and the seminal gypsy punks Gogol Bordello. DeVotchKa's first big break happened when Nic Harcourt, former music director for KCRW, introduced his listeners to a then unknown rock band of worldly sounds on his daily radio show, "Morning Becomes Eclectic". Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, who were listening that day, stumbled upon the sound for their movie, "Little Miss Sunshine". A critical and box office hit, the film was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and, for DeVotchKa's soundtrack, a Grammy.

The little band from Denver was suddenly internationally admired, headlining large venues and performing at practically every major music festival, from Coachella to Lollapalooza. After years of toiling in obscurity, the band was selling out shows from the Fillmore in San Francisco to First Avenue in Minneapolis, with breakout performances at Bumbershoot and Austin City Limits Music Festival. The love spread to Europe, which has become a yearly destination for the band. In 2011, DeVotchKa played a number of European and American festivals, including Glastonbury and a return to Bonnaroo.

"100 Lovers" is the album DeVotchKa had always wanted to make. "How it Ends" was recorded and mixed in only nine days. On "A Mad and Faithful Telling," the band had more time and conducted complex arrangements and experimental recording techniques. For "100 Lovers", DeVotchKa spent over a year defining their sound, taking multiple trips to the desert studio to craft twelve new recordings. The final product is the bands strongest album to date, filled with songs fans will love, songs to draw in new listeners, and exciting numbers that fit nicely into their rousing live sets. With the new album, DeVotchKa have achieved success carving their own singular sound out of the worlds of rock, opera, theater, dance, and film.

DeVotchKa is:
Nick Urata: Vocals, guitars, Theremin, trumpet, piano
Jeanie Schroder: acoustic bass, sousaphone
Shawn King: drums, percussion, trumpet
Tom Hagerman: violin, viola, accordion, piano
Venue Information:
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA, 02115
http://www.berkleebpc.com/