Minnesota covers the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs (Download)

Minnesota covers the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs (Download)
Courtesy of Facebook

There's a certain bond between music and a listener. We can all relate to it, but everyone has a different way of expressing it. For Matt Latterell and Chuck Terhark, that way of expression is through a massive cover album.

Absolutely Cuckoo is a statewide ode to the quick-witted, New York band, the Magnetic Fields' 1999 album 69 Love Songs. (The title is self-explanatory.) Compiling a nifty spreadsheet of their friends and favorite local artists, these guys managed to acquire a cover of each love song to create their own tribute, which is available for download today. 

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Earlier in the year, a simple idea struck Matt Latterell. While listening to the Magnetic Fields', three volume masterpiece, 69 Love Songs  "I wanted to cover some of it, and then I started to feel like I wanted my friends to cover some of it. Then I got this notion that I could get other artists to cover it."

Matt began to realize that following through his simple idea would be a lot more work than one might imagine. That's why he enlisted the help of fellow fan, Chuck Terhark. Terhark is no stranger to album either. Five years ago, he organized a show at the Turf Club on Valentine's Day, (appropriately titled, How Fucking Romantic) in which a dozen bands gathered together, fought over which 5 songs they would perform, and covered the album live, in its entirety. "This project was much larger in scope than one person can take on, so I was there to make myself as useful as possible," Terhark recalls. 

Each and every song on the album is unique. Not only because each song was assigned to a specific band, but also due to the fact that each artist chose their own way of recording and production. "Some of the bands might have gone into the studio," Latterell speculates "...what's great about it is that it's not only diverse in the music content, but also the production. You can kind of hear that, but to me personally, that adds charm. I record all of my music myself, so I enjoy seeing how others accomplish their own recordings."

He couldn't be more correct. While Semisonic frontman and songwriter Dan Wilson polishes off a clean-cut, mellow version of "The Things We Did and Didn't Do," Meg Ashling delivers a hauntingly beautiful lo-fi rendition of "Boa Constricter."

Chris Koza (Rogue Valley) reflects on his cover of "I Think I Need a New Heart": Most MF songs are little pop gems just waiting to explode, but I think part of the attraction is the production values Merritt gives his recordings.  Not too poppy, not totally disassembled. I went the "Killers" route for my submission. It may be a little indulgent, but it was fun to work on.

Johnny Solomon of Communist Daughter also took a second from their tour to describe his thought process on his stripped down version of "I Don't Want to Get Over You": I've been writing our new album, so its always good to put everything aside and just work on a song somebody else wrote. It builds the confidence. I was going to do the full band treatment but after just getting the basics down with Molly I felt like it really didnt need me getting in the way of the words. So that was that. 

While some artists have been long-time fans, others were totally new to the Magnetic Fields' repertoire  bringing another interesting component to interpretation. Word phrasing and chord structure is sometimes left up to how the artist hears it in their head as opposed to their speakers.

Compact powerhouse, Mayda shares, Matt asked me to be a part of the project a while back. I checked out the Magnetic Fields because I was not too familiar with them. Turned out their style was totally different than mine. It is always fun for me to do something challenging, so I couldn't say no. After listening to the track [The Death Of Ferdinand De Saussure], I wanted to wake up the voice and the drums a bit. It is done in typical Mayda fashion.

Whether they knew the songs or not, Minnesota artists have been happy to contribute in any way they can. Artists are especially eager to help their fellow musicians share the music they are crazy about.

Gabriel Douglas (The4onthefloor) expressed what this project means to him especially: The song [Fido] is fun, but the whole project means a lot to me. It's so great to see passionate fans (Matt & Chuck) organize, orchestrate, and succeed with a large task like this. It speaks volumes about them as individuals and the music community as a whole. So happy to be a part of this compilation!

Be sure to download your own free copy of Absolutely Cuckoo here. Also stop by the CD Release Show December 29 in the First Avenue Mainroom. 18+, $10 adv, $12 door, 5:30 PM. Proceeds go to OutFront Minnesota.  

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