When: Mon., March 26, 7 p.m. 2012
With the new Love at the Bottom of the Sea, the Magnetic Fields have come home to their first proper label, Merge, and reclaimed the core electronic sound of their early efforts. Most of the musicians who've worked with leader Stephin Merritt in recent years are involved, but he made the basic tracks alone first—their acoustic overdubs came later. Most of the songs are admirably terse and marked by a return to the biting humor that Merritt has more or less replaced with drollery in recent years. The hilarious "Andrew in Drag" is about a lust that only kicks in when the young man in question is dressed as a woman ("I'd sign away my trust fund / I would even sell the Jag / If I could spend my misspent youth with Andrew in drag"), and the surprisingly dark "Your Girlfriend's Face" is a brutal revenge fantasy disguised as a plastic pop throwaway. Love at the Bottom of the Sea is a bit of a retro move for the Magnetic Fields, but it's nice to see Merritt mixing it up—and the laughs are so ripe that you'd be missing the point to get hung up on where this fits in his discography. For more, read Kelly Hogan's interview with Merritt in this week's Artist on Artist. —Peter Margasak Bachelorette opens. See also Tuesday.