Personnel: Shirley Simms (vocals); John Woo (guitar); Sam Davol (cello); Daniel Handler (accordion); Claudia Gonson (piano, Farfisa, drums, background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Tom Rogers; Stephin Merritt; Charles Newman.
Recording information: Mother West, NY.
Photographer: Marcelo Krasilcic.
From the beginning, every Magnetic Fields album has had a specific musical or thematic concept: for example, 1991's DISTANT PLASTIC TREES was a tribute to synth minimalists Young Marble Giants, 1994's THE CHARM OF THE HIGHWAY STRIP was influenced by country-music road songs, and of course 1999's 69 LOVE SONGS was self-explanatory. DISTORTION, as the title suggests, is a glorious mess of feedback, surface noise, and other forms of distortion that sounds like a throwback to singer-songwriter and mastermind Stephin Merritt's indie-rock roots, before his later incarnation as a generational answer to Irving Berlin's pop classicism. The songs themselves are highly reminiscent of the early Magnetic Fields; "California Girls" and "Old Fools" in particular sound like they would have fit nicely on any of the group's early records. However, the staticky howl of the production, more in keeping with the likes of My Bloody Valentine or even Sonic Youth, might surprise old fans at first. Stephin Merritt has never made an album like DISTORTION before, and given his track record, he likely never will again.
- Genre: Pop
- Format: CD
- Released: 1/15/2008