The Magnetic Fields’ first two albums, The Wayward Bus and Distant Plastic Trees, will make their debut appearance on vinyl in December 2016, packaged together as a two-LP set. The Magnetic Fields, have shared the album track “You Love To Fail”, now available to stream.
Distant Plastic Trees, the Magnetic Fields’ first album, was originally released in England and Japan in 1991. Stephin Merritt’s accordion player, the novelist Daniel Handler, later noted that “this tinny and intimate recording, in quiet defiance of the reigning roar of pop music, recalls both the early, scratchy field recordings of folk music and the first experiments in electronic music—precisely the sort of stylistic balance the Magnetic Fields liked to achieve.” The album includes the early-’90s college radio single “100,000 Fireflies” which had earlier appeared as a single on Harriet Records and was later covered by Superchunk.
For its domestic debut, Distant Plastic Trees was paired with the Magnetic Fields’ 1992 album The Wayward Bus on a single CD that came out on the band’s own PoPuP Records imprint before its re-release on Merge in 1994. While both albums feature singer Susan Anway (formerly of early-’80s Boston punk band V;), the latter introduced several new players who would subsequently make regular appearances on Merritt’s various musical projects. As Handler explained, “The Wayward Bus adds cellist Sam Davol, tuba player Johny Blood and percussionist Claudia Gonson to create a plinky, orchestral sound in tribute to pop producer Phil Spector and his ‘Wall of Sound.’”
The album artwork on both Distant Plastic Trees and The Wayward Bus was created by watercolorist Wendy Smith. Her beautiful wrap-around paintings, now printed in a larger format, along with remastered audio make this two-LP set an exciting addition to the Magnetic Fields discography.
The Magnetic Fields on tour:
Nov 18 North Adams, MA – MASS MoCA
Nov 19 North Adams, MA – MASS MoCA
Dec 02 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Academy of Music
Dec 03 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Academy of Music
Mar 21 Durham, NC – The Carolina Theatre
Mar 22 Durham, NC – The Carolina Theatre
Apr 27 Los Angeles, CA – Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA
Apr 28 Los Angeles, CA – Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA
May 06 Seattle, WA – The Moore Theater
May 07 Seattle, WA – The Moore Theater