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The Magnetic Fields

Tonight @ The Pabst Theater

Mar. 4, 2010
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The Magnetic Fields’ 2008 album Distortion was an unexpected departure from the synth- and acoustic-based sounds that singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt usually tends to, an aggressive, electric noise-pop album. Merritt conceived the group’s follow-up, Realism, as a sort of counterpoint to that album: It’s an all acoustic folk record, placing particular emphasis on the ’60s folk revival records that soundtracked Merritt’s youth. Despite its deliberately retro feel, Realism’s sound is also a fairly accurate representation of the group’s live shows. Merritt’s sensitive hearing makes it difficult for him to perform with drums or electric guitar in concert, so he rearranges his songs to give them a softer treatment.

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