In a Q&A two years ago, Michael Benjamin Lerner (aka Telekinesis) told me: “I also have this grandiose vision of writing a record as a band, and playing it live in a room, and that being the record. We’ll see if that ever works out though.”
Well, for the time being, Telekinesis remains a one-man studio venture. Lerner is returning with his third album, Dormarion, due for release on on Merge on April 2. As if to emphasize the efficiency of the operation, Lerner recorded the album in just two weeks, with Spoon drummer Jim Eno producing at Eno’s Public Hi-Fi studio in Austin, Texas. There are pictures to prove it.
Even better: Lerner, who canceled his Tempe show two years ago, is playing Crescent Ballroom on April 28, and he’s got an impressive backing band for the tour: Erik Walters (The Globes) on guitar, Eric Elbogen (Say Hi) on bass and Rebecca Cole (Wild Flag and the Minders) on keyboards.
“Ghosts and Creatures” is the first leak from the new album, and while it doesn’t smack you in the face with his usual power-pop prowess, it’s no less catchy.
It’s hard to believe, but the time for year-end list making is upon us (unless, like me, you sort of, um, just didn’t make one last year). In some ways, these lists feel a lot like the NCAA Tournament – we’re swayed by what’s fresh in our minds. Who has been most impressive most recently? Albums in the first quarter tend to be forgotten as we fawn over the next Greatest Album of This Week.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that a new video for the song “Country Lane” arrived on Monday, serving as a conveniently timed reminder of Michael Benjamin Lerner’s power-pop prowess. Using clips from the road and scrapbook-inspired animation, the video looks more like a tour documentary showing just how glamorous life as an indie rock star can be.
I’ll never forgive myself for loaning my cassette of Nirvana’s Nevermind to a so-called friend because, of course, I never got it back. Twenty years later, I’m still bitter. And, wait … it’s been 20 years?? This one is gonna start making me feel old.
To celebrate the anniversary of what few would argue to be the most influential album of our generation, Spin cooked up a covers album — Newermind — to complement coverage of the event in their August magazine (that’s that thing with glossy pages that also was influential 20 years ago).
I’m just starting to make my way through the album after downloading it for free at Spin’s Facebook page (you have to “like” Spin and then cough up your email address). Naturally, I had to start with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” not only because it’s the leadoff track but because it’s handled by Arizona’s Meat Puppets, who were famously covered by and played with Nirvana for MTV Unplugged in 1993.
The Puppets’ Curt Kirkwood tells Spin: “It wasn’t daunting. ‘Teen Spirit’ is just a few chords. It’s easy to play — slap some reverb on there and it’s good to go. This was a cool, weird opportunity — like playing with Nirvana on MTV Unplugged — so we’re happy to take it.”
I’m starting to really miss that cassette tape again.
Tracklist for Newermind:
1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Meat Puppets
2. “In Bloom” Butch Walker
3. “Come As You Are” Midnight Juggernauts
4. “Breed” Titus Andronicus
5. “Lithium” The Vaselines
6. “Polly” Amanda Palmer
7. “Territorial Pissings” Surfer Blood
8. “Drain You” Foxy Shazam
9. “Lounge Act” Jessica Lea Mayfield
10. “Stay Away” Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band
11. “On A Plain” Telekinesis
12. “Something In The Way” JEFF the Brotherhood
13. “Endless, Nameless” EMA