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The Magnetic Fields: 'Out Late At A Bar, Writing A Song'

For more than 20 years, the indie-pop group The Magnetic Fields has been singing songs about love, though not always in the traditional sense. With a style that ranges from bitter to sincere to ironic, Stephin Merritt — the group's frontman, writer and producer — has created a growing cast of characters surviving love's vicissitudes.

In his characteristic deadpan, Merritt tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that he owes the inspiration for many of those characters to a particular ritual of his.

"I sit around in gay bars and write with a cocktail in one hand, and a pen in the other, and a notebook in the other," he says.

In fact, some songs on the band's new album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, stemmed specifically from Merritt's nights on the town.

"I woke up one morning and saw that my car was not in the driveway," Merritt says. "And I thought, 'I must have left the car at the bar so I wouldn't kill anyone on Santa Monica Boulevard.' So I looked in my song notebook, and there was [the song] 'Andrew in Drag.' And that's all I know about the writing of 'Andrew in Drag.' "

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Taking Great Photos On Vacation Or "Staycation"

Professional photographers give us the latest on cameras, smart phones and shooting tips for great vacation photos this summer -- and every day.

NPR

Squeezed By Drought, California Farmers Switch To Less Thirsty Crops

Water scarcity is leading farmers away from planting staples and towards planting higher-value, lower-water specialty crops. Think wine grapes and pomegranates instead of citrus and avocados.
WAMU 88.5

Obama's Trip to Africa & Foreign Aid

By visiting Africa this month, President Obama is drawing attention to one of the diplomatic tools that most directly shapes America's relationships with other countries: foreign aid and assistance. But now all policy makers at home feel the United States is pursuing the soundest strategy when it comes to providing aid abroad. We explore the issue with the official in charge of the Africa portfolio for the United States Agency for International Development.

WAMU 88.5

Taking Great Photos On Vacation Or "Staycation"

Professional photographers give us the latest on cameras, smart phones and shooting tips for great vacation photos this summer -- and every day.

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