The Magnetic Fields, Giant Drag, The Knife, And More

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Top left: Micah Calabrese and Annie Hardy of Giant Drag; right: Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields; bottom: Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer of The Knife.
Top left: Micah Calabrese and Annie Hardy of Giant Drag; right: Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields; bottom: Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer of The Knife.

After releasing the appropriately titled Distortion in 2008, The Magnetic Fields' members are back with a cleaner, mostly acoustic sound. The group's new album, Realism, is still richly orchestrated, but it's been stripped of drum machines, electric guitars and synthesizers. Frontman Stephin Merritt calls it The Magnetic Fields' "folk album." You can hear the opening cut, "You Must Be Out Of Your Mind," in this edition of All Songs Considered. Also on the program: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band resurrects the voice of Louis Armstrong on a new benefit record; the Swedish band The Knife has a strange new opera; the surprising string quartet Brooklyn Rider; long-awaited new music from Giant Drag; and the eccentric pop group The Heligoats.

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