Quickies

Submitted by nonesuch on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 16:40
Release Date
DescriptionExcerpt

The Magnetic Fields’ Quickies five 7" vinyl box set is twenty-eight new short songs by Stephin Merritt, ranging in length from thirteen seconds to two minutes and thirty-five seconds, performed by Merritt and band members Sam Davol, Claudia Gonson, Shirley Simms, and John Woo, along with longtime friends and collaborators Chris Ewen, Daniel Handler, and Pinky Weitzman. "Miniature gems," says the Guardian. "Extraordinary."

Description

The Magnetic Fields’ Quickies was released on Nonesuch Records on May 29, 2020. The five 7" vinyl box set features twenty-eight new short songs by Stephin Merritt, ranging in length from thirteen seconds to two minutes and thirty-five seconds. The digital albm was released on May 15; a single CD on June 19.

Merritt explains his thinking behind the Quickies concept: “I’ve been reading a lot of very short fiction, and I enjoyed writing 101 Two-Letter Words, the poetry book about the shortest words you can use in Scrabble. And I’ve been listening to a lot of French baroque harpsichord music. Harpsichord doesn’t lend itself to languor. So I’ve been thinking about one instrument at a time, playing for about a minute or so and then stopping, and I’ve been thinking of narratives that are only a few lines long.

“Also, I had been using a lot of small notebooks, so when I reach the bottom of the page, I’ve only gone a short way. Now that I’m working on a different album, I’m enforcing a large notebook rule so that I don’t do Quickies twice in a row.”

Quickies features Merritt and other Magnetic Fields band members Sam Davol, Claudia Gonson, Shirley Simms, and John Woo. They are joined by longtime friends and collaborators Chris Ewen, Daniel Handler, and Pinky Weitzman.

To date, Stephin Merritt has written and recorded twelve Magnetic Fields albums, including the beloved 69 Love Songs and the 2017 critically acclaimed Nonesuch box set, 50 Song Memoir, which chronicled the first fifty years of the songwriter’s life with one song per year. New York magazine called the box set “a celebration of Merritt’s sky-high range as a writer and a player, through the exploration of the circumstances that helped cultivate it … 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.” Merritt has also composed original music and lyrics for several music theater pieces, including an off-Broadway stage musical of Neil Gaiman’s novel Coraline, for which he received an Obie Award. In 2014, Merritt composed songs and background music for the first musical episode of public radio’s This American Life. Stephin Merritt also releases albums under the band names the 6ths, the Gothic Archies, and Future Bible Heroes.

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Recorded at:
Cottage Sounds, Brooklyn, NY, by Charles Newman
Decibelle, San Francisco, CA, by Cody Hamilton
Mad Oak, Boston, MA, by Benny Grotto
Mixed with Charles Newman at Cottage Sounds
Mastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless, Newton, MA

Design: Evan Gaffney
Photography: Stephin Merritt, Shirley Simms

Nonesuch Selection Number

625110

ns_album_releasedate
Album Status
Artist Name
The Magnetic Fields
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
Stephin Merritt, vocals (1, 4, 6–9, 12, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28), banjolele (4, 6, 19, 20), cigar box ukulele (11, 13, 18, 21), Moog instruments (12), ARP Axxe (15), hand-played drum machine (15, 20), electric guitar (15), Avante Veillette guitar (22), Mellotron (24), Omnichord (26), Wurlizter electric piano (28), background vocals (25)
Claudia Gonson, vocals (3, 14, 17, 23), one-hand piano (3, 17, 22), cigar box percussion (11, 13, 18, 21), background vocals (2, 4–11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 25–28)
Shirley Simms, vocals (2, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 25, 27), three-chord autoharp (1, 7, 9, 16, 27), whispers (9), Omnichord (15, 20, 26, 28), background vocals (1, 4, 7, 20, 26)
John Woo, unamplified electric guitars (2, 8, 10, 14), cigar box guitar (11, 13, 18, 21)
Pinky Weitzman, cigar box and Stroh violins (11, 13, 18, 21)
Sam Davol, wine box cello (11, 13, 18, 21), cello (15, 24, 28)
Chris Ewen, prepared piano (20, 24), Mellotron (24)
Benny Grotto, Optigan percussion (24)
Daniel Handler, accordion (25), celeste (25)

reissues?
new-release
Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
5-EP 7" Vinyl Box Set
Price
38.00
UPC
075597922035
Label
CD+MP3
UPC
075597920550
Label
FLAC
Price
15.00
UPC
075597922066
Label
MP3
Price
14.00
UPC
075597922059
  • 625110

News & Reviews

  • The Magnetic Fields will tour the US next spring following a four-city tour of Latin America this December. The band closes out 2022 with concerts in Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina. The spring run of US shows starts with two nights in Denver, March 17 and 18, followed by dates in Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Austin, St. Louis (two nights), Cleveland, and Pittsburgh (two nights), culminating at City Winery Hudson Valley on April 3.

  • The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt is on the new Talkhouse podcast series Listening. On the show, curated by Elia Einhorn, artists are invited to share their perspective on how they listen to the world and how that informs the music they make. They also create a new composition for the episode and discuss the creative process behind it. “Witty, guarded, cynical, loving, heartsick, and tender—this is Stephin Merritt, or at least what we hear in the songs he pens for his acclaimed band The Magnetic Fields,” says Einhorn. You can hear their conversation and the song Merritt wrote for the show here. The Magnetic Fields kick off the next leg of their UK and European tour on August 31.

  • About This Album

    The Magnetic Fields’ Quickies was released on Nonesuch Records on May 29, 2020. The five 7" vinyl box set features twenty-eight new short songs by Stephin Merritt, ranging in length from thirteen seconds to two minutes and thirty-five seconds. The digital albm was released on May 15; a single CD on June 19.

    Merritt explains his thinking behind the Quickies concept: “I’ve been reading a lot of very short fiction, and I enjoyed writing 101 Two-Letter Words, the poetry book about the shortest words you can use in Scrabble. And I’ve been listening to a lot of French baroque harpsichord music. Harpsichord doesn’t lend itself to languor. So I’ve been thinking about one instrument at a time, playing for about a minute or so and then stopping, and I’ve been thinking of narratives that are only a few lines long.

    “Also, I had been using a lot of small notebooks, so when I reach the bottom of the page, I’ve only gone a short way. Now that I’m working on a different album, I’m enforcing a large notebook rule so that I don’t do Quickies twice in a row.”

    Quickies features Merritt and other Magnetic Fields band members Sam Davol, Claudia Gonson, Shirley Simms, and John Woo. They are joined by longtime friends and collaborators Chris Ewen, Daniel Handler, and Pinky Weitzman.

    To date, Stephin Merritt has written and recorded twelve Magnetic Fields albums, including the beloved 69 Love Songs and the 2017 critically acclaimed Nonesuch box set, 50 Song Memoir, which chronicled the first fifty years of the songwriter’s life with one song per year. New York magazine called the box set “a celebration of Merritt’s sky-high range as a writer and a player, through the exploration of the circumstances that helped cultivate it … 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.” Merritt has also composed original music and lyrics for several music theater pieces, including an off-Broadway stage musical of Neil Gaiman’s novel Coraline, for which he received an Obie Award. In 2014, Merritt composed songs and background music for the first musical episode of public radio’s This American Life. Stephin Merritt also releases albums under the band names the 6ths, the Gothic Archies, and Future Bible Heroes.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Stephin Merritt, vocals (1, 4, 6–9, 12, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28), banjolele (4, 6, 19, 20), cigar box ukulele (11, 13, 18, 21), Moog instruments (12), ARP Axxe (15), hand-played drum machine (15, 20), electric guitar (15), Avante Veillette guitar (22), Mellotron (24), Omnichord (26), Wurlizter electric piano (28), background vocals (25)
    Claudia Gonson, vocals (3, 14, 17, 23), one-hand piano (3, 17, 22), cigar box percussion (11, 13, 18, 21), background vocals (2, 4–11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 25–28)
    Shirley Simms, vocals (2, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 25, 27), three-chord autoharp (1, 7, 9, 16, 27), whispers (9), Omnichord (15, 20, 26, 28), background vocals (1, 4, 7, 20, 26)
    John Woo, unamplified electric guitars (2, 8, 10, 14), cigar box guitar (11, 13, 18, 21)
    Pinky Weitzman, cigar box and Stroh violins (11, 13, 18, 21)
    Sam Davol, wine box cello (11, 13, 18, 21), cello (15, 24, 28)
    Chris Ewen, prepared piano (20, 24), Mellotron (24)
    Benny Grotto, Optigan percussion (24)
    Daniel Handler, accordion (25), celeste (25)

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Recorded at:
    Cottage Sounds, Brooklyn, NY, by Charles Newman
    Decibelle, San Francisco, CA, by Cody Hamilton
    Mad Oak, Boston, MA, by Benny Grotto
    Mixed with Charles Newman at Cottage Sounds
    Mastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless, Newton, MA

    Design: Evan Gaffney
    Photography: Stephin Merritt, Shirley Simms