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26 Jan 2006 - Montreal Gazette, Canada (English daily - circulation 140,000)
10 Mar 2005 - Montreal Mirror Magazine, Canada (English)
Mars 2005 - Site web Skarlatine (Français)
The Gazette, Montreal - Thursday, January 26, 2006 (front
page of A&L)
Page: D1 / BREAK / Section: Arts & Life
Byline: BERNARD PERUSSE - firstname.lastname@example.org
CORRECTION: (From the Montreal Gazette, January 27, 2006) A story in yesterday's paper about the band Lo and the Magnetics said incorrectly that the group was to perform last night at the Petit Campus. In fact, the show will take place tomorrow at 9 p.m. *****
Magnetics compass: They remind you of the Kingpins that rocked Montreal for a decade, but Lo and the Magnetics are moving in their own direction, to a different beat.
|There was a touch of nostalgia in the air on
Monday when Lorraine Muller, frontperson and lead vocalist of Lo and the
Magnetics - accompanied by the group's keyboard and sax player, Dan Meier
- showed up at The Gazette wearing a Kingpins T-shirt.
During the Kingpins' 10-year ride, Muller sang and played sax for the legendary local ska-rockers. When they broke up two years ago, she was the only original Kingpin left in the lineup.
During the decade of the Kingpins, Muller became one of the Montreal music scene's cult heroes. "With the Planet Smashers, we took Montreal by storm," she said. "There seems to have been a void just waiting for something, and we just came right into it. It was beautiful. It was perfect timing and perfect chemistry between the audience and us. Everybody seemed to have a taste for that kind of music. We created a really wonderful, vibrant ska scene here in Montreal."
The group's pop side had gently and gradually overpowered its ska foundation by the time the final Kingpins release, Plan of Action, came out in 2000. As a result, it segues smoothly into the exquisite hook-filled songs on Lo and the Magnetics' 2004 debut album, A Part. Both discs would be right down the alley of any New Wave child who was weaned on Blondie, early Elvis Costello, the Police and the English Beat.
In fact, the Kingpins name was still being used up to the mastering stage of the Magnetics album, Muller said.
"People should be nostalgic for the Kingpins," she said. "I have a love and respect for everything we ever did. But it was time to admit that these four guys playing in a band with me were not the Kingpins. I wanted to tell the musicians involved in creating Lo and the Magnetics that they're a band - something special. The music dictated the change."
This photo is copyright protected 2006. Not to be used for publication under any circumstances. Thank You.
The group - Muller, Meier, bassist and co-producer Mitch Girio,
guitarist Chris Raz and drummer Mike G - recently released a remastered version
of A Part, with dramatic sound improvement, and wrapped its first video, for
Pull it all Apart.
Meier was hired in 2002 for a Kingpins tour of Europe and Canada. He was on board when the new formation played a free concert - as the Kingpins - the following year, rocking a Montreal International Jazz Festival crowd estimated at 30,000 or more.
"The new band members were playing in somebody else's shoes, with a very strong identity that we had to fit," Meier said. "But we were encouraged to express our own personalities, and it seemed obvious that something had changed." That musical evolution needed to be recognized, Muller said.
Ska's distinctive off-the-beat shuffle - the hyperactive father of rocksteady and reggae - can still be heard in most Lo and the Magnetics songs, but no veteran scenester skanking on the dance floor could have anticipated the string section that wraps around Muller's voice in Come on, Bring it Home. This could be merely the beginning.
According to Meier, songs are still being rearranged in live Magnetics shows. "We do have ska elements, but in the same way that the Police had ska elements," he said. "It's getting more and more pop - in a British way. Here, pop doesn't have the same connotations as in Europe. It can be a bit negative. But for me, pop is very positive. The Beatles are pop - and if that's pop, I don't mind being pop."
Staying open to change is nothing new to Muller - it goes back to the Kingpins' early days. "We always wanted to try different things. We started out doing Two Tone-flavoured music," she said, referring to the label that launched a new generation of British ska-rockers as the 1970s became the 1980s. "Then we got into the surfy '60s, (James) Bond-y kind of garage. And in 1997, we started playing more traditional ska, with covers, and it became part of our style. We started to have our own voice."
It's unlikely that Muller will ever stop being the 14-year-old who fell in love with ska when someone first turned her on to her namesake song, Lorraine by Bad Manners. But the girl who got into music because of Annie Lennox, David Bowie, Billy Idol and the Sex Pistols can't be denied, either. The balancing act might upset a few porkpie-hat-wearing purists - and she understands.
"I know exactly how they feel," she said. "I was a kid, and I was going to Me, Mom and Morgentaler shows. When different crowds started going to their shows, I felt a little bit betrayed. Now I'm on the other side and I think everybody is entitled to think what they want to think.
"If you just take a step back and look at what I've done over the past 10 years for ska music in Montreal, it speaks for itself, and I'm going to continue doing things with ska music when I so desire - but it shouldn't be the only thing I do. Anybody who knows me and whose opinion really matters knows that I haven't "sold out" ska. The best thing that could happen to the ska scene is to let somebody else take center stage. Let's get some fresh bands in here."
Montreal Mirror, Canada - Published March 10th, 2005:
Fox force five
>> Lo and the Magnetics accentuate the positive
by LORRAINE CARPENTER
"It was a long time coming." So says Lorraine Muller, singer, songwriter and headmistress of Montreal's Lo and the Magnetics, the quintet that spent nearly two years masquerading as a famous ska band. After almost a decade singing and playing sax with local stars of the up beat, the Kingpins, Muller found herself alone at centre stage in late 2001, assembling a new band from scratch, yet clinging to the old moniker for dear life.
"I was very emotionally attached to everything about the band," she says, "but as soon as we started recording the new record, I said, ‘No, this is not the Kingpins.'"
Muller credits her band with inspiring the name change. Bit by bit, Russ Cooper (bass), Mike Gasseldorfer (drums, percussion), Dan Meier (keys, reeds) and Chris Raz (guitar, backing vox) coaxed the singer into admitting that she was the band's driving force and loosening her grip on the Kingpins' ska aesthetic, a process rooted in the old lineup's then-surprisingly new wave-oriented Plan of Action LP, released in 2000. Though ska is one of the styles woven into Lo and the Magnetics' debut album A Part, the sound reveals a much more diverse and disparate set of musical tendencies.
"The more we played together, the more they started adding their own palette of beautiful colours," says Muller. "Mike has said that you need only ride with us in the van for one day to see where everything comes from. You'll hear Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Kraftwerk, Elvis Costello, Radiohead, everything under the sun. All the things we love are coming out in the music."
Bittersweet strains of jazz, requisite rock-steady beats, the bright sheen of classic pop, a reaction to mainstream manufactured po(o)p and saccharine synthpop en français ("Tachée," featuring Lederhosen Lucil's alter ego Krista Muir), all that and more make up the sum of A Part, and the way Muller tells it, the Magnetics are really on a roll.
"There's something really spectacular happening now in rehearsals, and the chemistry between us has never been better. This record is the birth of something very exciting."
Site web Skarlatine Mars 2005, par Jonathan Béland
Lo and the Magnetics présentent A Part
Après une cinquantaine de spectacles de promotion, le quintet de Montréal Lo and the Magnetics est enfin prêt à procéder au lancement officiel de son premier album, A Part.
Le groupe y présente une musique sophistiquée; l'ancienne saxophoniste et chanteuse des Kingpins, Lorraine Muller, nous transporte dans son nouvel univers musical avec des influences allant d'Elvis Costello à Blondie en passant par The Pretenders.
Nouveau nom, nouvelle maison de disques, nouveau genre… Muller et ses comparses délaissent Stomp Records et le style old-school qui a valu aux Kingpins ses lettres de noblesse. Les compositions de Lo and the Magnetics se situent plutôt entre le ska britannique et le style new wave d'inspiration Pauline Black ou Indochine.
Et quelle voix sublime celle de Lorraine Muller! Un accent pop-jazz en parfaite symbiose avec les textes, dont la plupart porte la signature de Mitch Gírio… Difficile de résister à tel concentré de talent!
Le vidéoclip pour l'extrait «Pull it all Apart» devrait être réalisé ce printemps. En attendant, le public peut se délecter des extraits «Out» et «Sooner or Later».
Produit par Lorraine Muller, King Kong Gírio et Lo and the Magnetics, l'album A Part a été enregistré et mixé par Claus Frostell, King Kong Gírio et Don Murnaghan aux studios LoLoft et Frisson.
Rappelons que le groupe a signé chez Top 5 Records en juillet 2004. La sortie de l'album A Part le 16 novembre 2004 fut suivie par une tournée européenne de cinq semaines pour appuyer les ventes de l'album de l'autre côté de l'Atlantique, où le groupe est distribué par le label allemand Grover Records.
En dix ans, le groupe The Kingpins a marqué l'histoire de la scène ska. Trois albums, une douzaine de tournées, cinq vidéoclips, plus de 20 000 unités vendues: le groupe s'est imposé dans le milieu avec une musique sans compromis. Connue pour ses prestations énergiques sur scène, la formation a offert une performance devant une foule de 50 000 spectateurs au Festival international de jazz de Montréal en 2003. Le groupe s'est officiellement dissout en 2004, mais la formation avait subi un remaniement majeur en 2000 après la parution du troisième et dernier album, Plan of Action.
Si l'album A Part est la suite logique de Plan of Action, n'allez surtout pas y voir un simple duplicata des Kingpins: sans renier le passé avec une pièce fidèle au style jamaïcain comme «Shipwrecked Heart», Lo and the Magnetics proposent une évolution musicale originale.