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A Q&A With Stephin Merritt Of The Magnetic Fields

The albums of the Magnetic Fields are sonically gorgeous accompaniments to heartbreak. As the band's songwriter and vocalist, Stephin Merritt is known for his wry, morose lyrics—from the groundbreaking 69 Love Songs: "The moon to whom the poets croon/has given up and died/Astronomy will have to be revised"—but I was also curious about Merritt's other writing pursuits, which include a period as a music critic for Time Out New York in the 90s. A couple of his musical collaborations have also had a literary edge. He worked with author Daniel Handler to create an album based on Handler's Lemony Snicket series and with writer Neil Gaiman to craft the musical adaptation of Coraline. I spoke with Merritt by phone this weekend in advance of Magnetic Fields' two upcoming New York shows in support of their 12th album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea. READ MORE

Talking To Tony Dekker Of Great Lake Swimmers

Tony Dekker, frontman for the Toronto-based indie folk band Great Lake Swimmers (that's him on the far right), grew up on a farm in Wainfleet, Ontario. While he's spent the past 12 years in Toronto and touring across North America and Europe, the songs he writes remain heavily influenced by the outdoors—and Great Lake Swimmers have a history of recording in unusual, out-of-the-way locations. But for their fifth album—the spare, beautiful New Wild Everywhere, out April 3—for the first time the band recorded many of the songs in what Dekker calls "a proper studio." I talked to him on the phone when, having just returned from a month-long educational expedition in Antarctica, he was back home in Toronto, preparing for SXSW and the launch of a massive North American tour. READ MORE

Talking To The Nerdist's Chris Hardwick

Chris Hardwick has made a career out of being a nerd. Well, actually, he has made several careers out of being a nerd, as the host of "Web Soup" a writer for Wired, an author and the host of The Nerdist podcast. Paste Magazine and Rolling Stone both named The Nerdist one of the ten best podcasts of the year, which means that it's now a TV show, with a special airing tomorrow night on BBC America. The podcast has also spawned a community of tech, science and nerd culture enthusiasts on Nerdist.com. READ MORE