Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stream: Here We Go Magic - A Different Ship

From one of my favorite stories of the week, the picture above is the band Here We Go Magic on the road after they picked up a hitchhiking John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Cry-Baby). Guitarist Michael Bloch explained the ordeal:
There's a hydro-fracking boom in western Pennsylvania. You can't get a motel room. We had to drive til 4AM, and finally found a Days Inn in eastern Ohio. Getting back on the highway this morning, there was a man at the side of the on-ramp with a sign that read "to the end of Rte 70." Jen [Turner, bassist] wanted to pick him up, but we drove past him. As we passed by, our sound guy said "John Waters." Luke said, "Yep, definitely John Waters." We got off at the next exit and circled back. He was still there. We pulled up, opened the door and asked where he was coming from. "Baltimore," he said. And we said "Get in, sir."
Always the provocateur, filmmaker John Waters explained why he still hitchhikes revealing:
I still do hitchhike-- it's a great way to meet people, and to have sex.
Of course, this was reported in every corner of the blogosphere. What was failed to be mentioned was that Here We Go Magic released on of the must-hear records of 2012 and it is available to stream for free.

On A Different Ship, Brooklyn quintet Here We Go Magic trade in their often chaotic and unpredictable sound for a streamlined one that suits them much better. Producer Nigel Godrich certainly had his hand in this transition. You may be familiar with his work handling production for a little band called Radiohead. You can hear the influence of In Rainbows on "Hard to Be Close" which opens the record after a brief intro and establishes the confessional nature of the tracks within. The shimmering production makes for a more engaging listening experience than their previous effort, the hit-or-miss Pigeons. This record sounds like a more natural progression from band leader Luke Temple's 2011 solo album, Don't Act Like You Don't Care, which displayed his undeniable knack for songwriting.

The funky pulse of "Make Up Your Mind" is reminiscent of some upbeat songs found in Beck's repertoire. The following track, "Alone but Moving", establishes a dreamy atmosphere. The downtempo song utilizes spacey dreampop textures that wouldn't seem out of place on the last Deerhunter album. The calm yet captivating ambiance is disrupted toward the end with single "How Do You Know", a thumping earworm that should be all over your radio. The majestic title-track winds down the record with a shimmering ballad. It's groovy bass line and vocal melodies in the verse actually remind me a bit of 80's jazz-funk band Level 42. The lyrics "She's on another ship to heaven / Got her ticket there from Lucifer himself" introduce the impassioned narrative. The nautical theme and emotive vocals make it tempting to think of the song as a modern day version of Procol Harum’s "A Whiter Shade of Pale". The entire record can serve as a contemplative soundtrack to a mellow trip over the ocean.

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