Published Sep 28, 2016While Stephin Merritt's Magnetic Fields have had their landmark 69 Love Songs reissued a couple of times over the years, it's high time that an older pair of albums from the indie-pop project's oeuvre are brought back into the spotlight. As such, Merge has announced a new vinyl package celebrating the group's first two full-lengths.
Merge will deliver a two-LP set combining remastered versions of 1991's Distant Plastic Trees and 1992's The Wayward Bus on December 2. This marks the first time either collection has made its way onto vinyl.
Distant Plastic Trees had originally been issued via the Red Flame imprint and includes "100,000 Fireflies," a song that had also appeared on the act's earliest vinyl single. It was later covered by Merge founders Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan's band, Superchunk.
"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," Magnetic Fields accordionist Daniel Handler said in a statement, adding that this was "precisely the sort of stylistic balance the Magnetic Fields liked to achieve."
Follow-up collection The Wayward Bus was self-released by the Magnetic Fields though their PoPuP Records imprint before being reissued by Merge in 1994. The lineup expanded on this release to find Merritt, Handler and vocalist Susan Anway joined by cellist Sam Davol, tuba player Johny Blood and percussionist Claudia Gonson. The album is described as having a "plinky, orchestral sound" inspired by Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound."
A stream of the combo package's "You Love to Fail" can be found below, while newly prepped artwork from watercolorist Wendy Smith can be seen up above.