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The Magnetic Fields

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Cambridge, Boston MA, United States (1990 – present)

The Magnetic Fields is a New York-based group fronted by Stephin Merritt. Recent albums released under the name “The Magnetic Fields” usually consist of music in a 1980s style underlying clever lyrics which are often heavily ironic. While synth-pop often forms the foundation of their music, The Magnetic Fields’ music borrows from many other styles, notably , and .

The band was originally formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1990 by friends Merritt and (percussionist/pianist/vocalist) Claudia Gonson. While 1991’s Distant Plastic Trees and 1992’s The Wayward Bus (now most easily available together as a compilation, The Wayward Bus / Distant Plastic Trees) are sung by Susan Anway, all subsequent albums are principally sung by Merritt himself.

Longtime members include: Gonson, (cellist) Sam Davol, and (banjo player/guitarist) John Woo. Contributors include (but are not limited to) the singers Susan Anway, Dudley Klute, Shirley Simms, and LD Beghtol, and the accordionist/writer Daniel Handler (famous for writing the childrens’ books A Series of Unfortunate Events under the alias Lemony Snicket).

Their most popular and best-selling album to date is 69 Love Songs issued on Merge Records as a triple album filled with many fairly short songs that are reminiscent of early Beatles productions.

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