Magnetic Flowers

Magnetic Flowers


Magnetic Flowers follow the lyrical path of folk and take the sonic path of rock a la The Hold Steady. Occasionally, they garner comparisons to bands like Okkervil River, Dr. Dog and The Band.


The Magnetic Flowers come across as a gloriously overstuffed indie rock force of nature, with its band members trading instruments and vocals with abandon as they deliver their highly original, melodically layered, and hyper-literate songcraft. The influence of groups like Okkervil River, Bright Eyes, The Decemberists and The Hold Steady are evident in the band’s sound, but are inadequate in capturing the group’s exuberant energy and vocal abandon. What is truly amazing about the group, however, is how often they go from careening rock n’ roll to subtly layered vocal harmonies or delicate guitar picking, from garage rock fervor to moments of chamber pop bliss. There seem to be no rules or limits to the band’s sound, only a willingness to follow each and every song down the proverbial rabbit hole.

The group was conceived by the two primary singer/guitarists and former roommates in the group, Jared Pyritz and Patrick Funk, but it owes a great deal of its final sound to their fellow songwriter, keyboardist and accordionist (and former bassist) Adam Cullum, whose seems to spin endless webs of melody and countermelody with his energetic keyboard riffs over every song. Cullum also adds a strongly unique voice to the group, and his ear for harmony and secondary vocal parts often kicks a song into overdrive. The same goes for the group’s relatively new bassist Albert Knuckley, who brings a melodic, old-school sensibility to his bass lines that give the group sonic grounding in Motown and classic rock territory. The final piece of the puzzle, and the band’s newest member, is drummer Evan Simmons, a classically trained percussionist, who, along with Knuckley, brings an incredible level of creativity and sense of adventure to the rhythm section. Given their individual strengths, it is easy to see how this group appears to be exploding at their musical seams.

Although they made their recording debut with 2007’s Presents Pasts and Futures, the group truly captures their unique dynamic on their sprawlingly titled latest, What We Talk About When We Talk About What We Talk About (the title is based on a collection of Raymond Carver stories). Featuring guest string and horn players, as well as Columbia’s resident guitar-god Josh Roberts, that augment the songs perfected in performances over the past year, the album is a powerful artistic statement worthy of recognition in the top echelon of the national indie rock scene. Bookended by songs that riff off the old gospel tune “I’ll Fly Away” (each in dramatically different ways), the album also includes the spitfire storytelling of “Southern Baptist Gothic” and “What She Said (To a Writer at a Party),” the emotionally wrought, quintessentially twenty something ballad “Northern Lights,” and a jazzy critique of hipster culture entitled “Talk Talk Talk Talk” that riffs on T.S. Eliot and self-awarely name checks Donnie Darko, Charles Bukowski, and a Tom Waits record. The record dips deep, both musically and lyrically, over it’s all-too-brief 8 songs, and shines upon repeated listens.

The band continues to present their live show on stages throughout the Southeast, so look for them at a venue near you soon.

-Kyle Petersen

Video @



Written By: P. Funk/J. Pyritz

Marta's thin black dress falls round her olive neck like a bedsheet unfurling: fresh linen missing the dryer's heat.
She glides from table to table to bar in the lounge of the Hilton.
The last remaining shards of her parents' dreams is serving drinks to me.
As the libations are abounding, my limitations are astounding.
It seems I've confused a waitress for a muse.

Now I am stitching your false tapestry.

Ruminations will follow on how you danced with your father:
(I'm sorry if I misrepresent)
The stubble on his chin pressed against your cheek,
The whiskey on his breath dangerous and sweet,
The awkward fumbled steps,
Your clumsy little feet,
Your brother's muffled laugh,
The headlights in the street.

Emergency Vacation Retreat

Written By: P. Funk/ J. Pyritz

She's got one foot in front of the other on the way to her mother's house in the hills.
She gets the chills and changes direction.
They don't pace here anymore for the roaring distractions.

Emergency, vacation, retreat rank with favor for some newlywed saviour with some flavorless bait for her.
Words without meaning make sense through the context clues, losing gravity, float up towards the ceiling, where they hang round the room, like a child's lost balloon.
She left it for hide and seek but she's found by maturity.

But "Oh, my love!
"It's just that sometimes you get so lonely that it just makes sense!"

A band on the stage abandons the stage, too clever for words, but words too clever won't save the green lovely leaf from the fall from her tree between the flash-flooding summer and the harsh future freeze.

I want to make Sense.

Books and Bad Poetry

Written By: Funk

Kathy, my sweet, her heart was too big for me, so she shared it with Joel in an inn down the street. He filled it with whimsy, books, and bad poetry: the loveliest words to keep her preserved.
Emotional taxidermy.

As she slouched in her car the guilt tore through her heart. A head full of exhaust where sleep isn't far, but dreams never come. The true damage now done, and the weight of the cost is much more than I'll ever be able to steal.

How does it feel?

The blood froze in his veins when I blew out his brains in a living room nightmare.
Ideas stained the drapes like:
"Love is amorphous, contingent, and porous.
"It defies all defining, there's use denying.
"It's funny: it's always for sale."

All right.

Dream to sleep, sleep to wake for reality's sake.
Keep it buffered with flowers, makes for pretty mistakes, but mistakes nonetheless, packed too dense to suppress the insatiable urge to binge and to purge the soul.


Written By: Pyritz

I look left then right as I step out and stumble on forward like bells in the sky when I wake up, announcing the service. When clouds touch the ground in the morning after... the death of a sigh and the echo of a humbling chorus:


You say, "logic is logical," but that's circular logic. A paradoxical paradigm, it's always being shifted, until I don't know if love is such a broken and cold Hallelujah.

A radio song in time with a funeral procession.
Headlights on the bright blue sky: a time-honored tradition.
And why I can't sleep is for the same reasons I been trying to believe in anything.

And I shouldn't expect anyone to care, but there's things I've kept with me for some twenty-odd years, like the dream of my sister:
She's just a little girl in a green-black plaid dress and impossible curls and we're both on a boat that's starting to sink.
I see her tip forward as she starts to scream--


What She Said

Written By: Pyritz/Funk

“I was born on a plane beneath the battleaxe blade of the moon hung so high slicing pink fleshy skies."
It’s a heartbreaking story she tells, but she sells it so damn well.

I told her “Your fiction is fine in the right kind of light, but as dangerous as love to the dark part of the mind.
”Well, mind you, who am I to tell truths from a lie?

It's this hand on my hand that is holding this pen that prevents the proverbial page from turning.
She turned on her heel and yelled back, “This is real!”

“I wrote you into stone still your eyes have gone soft, thus unmasking my faults and your inner-most thoughts.”
Its like a pillow for a barricade or a bullet for a headache.

Useless she would feel when all I did was just kill her ideas about living and living for real.
“Oh, I swear I’m being serious.”

“And seriously, did you seriously think that my sad-sounding story was that hard to believe?”
No I didn‘t. And I regret it.

“What are you but words
Of a poet too unsure
To finalize a thought?
Who thought that you’d be so absurd?”

“Why are you ashamed
Of things that you create?
Why are you afraid
Of mistakes that you‘ve made?”

She was born on a plane. It's such a beautiful thing to believe and to breathe life into the meaning.
It’s a second-hand story I tell, but I can’t sell it to myself

She told me “Truth is the sound meant for calling us down the plowed paths of the holy and holier than thou.
Well its this fear of flight that keeps you in that line.”
What are we but words
Of ourselves too self-assured
To recognize that we're not.
Who thought this could end up so absurd?

But if that plane had crashed on a wet tarmac, she wouldn’t have to defend the facts.
Then the fiction of her life would live only in dreams and vague creations that leave me shamed and so afraid of mistakes I’ll make and truths I’d fake.
But the end is coming and doesn't it always?

Northern Lights

Written By: Funk

You should quit smoking so much because your voice loses luster when your sticky lungs bluster out words that should be soft to the touch.
And you're not nineteen anymore. What excuse do you have to tote a habit like that like a badge from the second world war?

You should put more money aside and go visit those friends before all contact ends and you're trapped in the photos you hide.
Get a passport and get on a plane and go watch Northern Lights under fluorescent skies before daughters tie you to school plays.

La da da da.

You should put a ring on her finger and accept that your mind can't scan through your lives for moments of dissonant timbre.
Come to terms with your own paradigms. You're so quick to banish those starry-eyed romantics who can't help but find love at first sight.

You should write a song for your brother about the centipede lawns and the bikes you rode on when you decided you loved one another.
These bonds are elastic but frail and they spiderweb across the plains that are fed by the waters that erode the small details.

La da da da.

Mark Pyritz Goes to Mexico

Written By: Pyritz/Funk

Cross country to California in a beat up Datsun that picked me up somewhere in the middle of Arizona.
Going to see my girl, my sweet baby darlin’. Road atlas arteries have pumped me out of South Carolina.

Wine country, California in her Grandma’s kitchen where she explained that she can’t quite take the distance.
She went out that night. I stayed in and shared a gin with her grandmother. She said her husband was near the end.

And she said, “Ride with my baby to the place he’d like to die and then let him be.”
And I said “Why?” She just smiled as she handed me the keys.

New morning the Sun is rising in the East. She’s packing records, he’s drinking coffee.
A kiss, a camera flash, a crumpled wad of cash. I wave goodbye, she shuts her eyes, and the old man laughs.

Eight counties, the Sun is passing over me. Postcards and passports - he’s passed out in the passenger seat.
And when we stop for air, yeah just to breath, our lungs are dryin’ up in the dyin’ desert heat.

New country. The Sun is drowning in the sea, and our heartbeats waltz in time. I draw in a breath. Never been this close to death. But it was sitting next to me.

And he said, “Drive back to your country where you’ll find yourself a wife and start a family, but before you die, tell your Son to cherish everything that leaves.

The 20-Something's Prayer

Written By: Patrick Funk

I had this dream that I couldn’t sleep.
Stared down by the clock faces I wrestled with the sheets.
But as minutes turned to hours I slowly drifted off.
And as the dreams began to come I woke up.

I have this memory I’m not sure I can trust.
A nest of baby birds in your mom’s magnolia bush.
When I touched their pimpled wings you said I’d ruined everything.
But I swear I didn’t know, I didn’t mean it.

Let the laughter of my friends make me clean again.
Let the liquor in my throat fill me like a ghost.
Let the shouts of passers-by freeze inside the night.
And please let me down easy.

I get this ache in my side when the weather is just right.
Your slack-jawed indifference glowed under the flood lights.
I spit on the driveway. I stared blankly through your shoes.
The words were in my head, but they were too massive to use.

I got a phone call that left me feeling helpless.
You were black out drunk in someone’s friend’s apartment.
I heard the sobs and the slurs trying to find their way back home.
I heard a trillion little truths eating the marrow in your bones.

Let the laughter of my friends make me clean again.
Let the liquor in my throat fill me like a ghost.
Let the shouts of passers-by freeze inside the night.
And please let me down easy.


"What We Talk About When We Talk About What We Talk About" (2009)

Streaming @

"Presents, Pasts and Futures" (2007)

streams here and at

played on WUSC FM 90.5, WXRY unsigned, WARQ FM 93.5

Set List

Emergency Vacation Retreat
What She Said
Books and Bad Poetry
A Divorcee's Lament in the Summertime
Widescreen Version
Southern Baptist Gothic
Northern Lights
So Sayeth the Soothsayer
At Present
Mark Pyritz Goes to Mexico
Mouths Run Dry
Love at First Hindsight
Talk Talk Talk Talk

We typically play one very lively set anywhere between 30 and 120 min depending on the venue.