Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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SHOW STARTS 7PM CT


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Magic-castles-magic-castles

Artist Limelight: The Ballad of Magic Castles and the Brian Jonestown Massacre

August 16, 2012

Artist LimeLight:
The Ballad of Magic Castles and Brian
Jonestown Massacre

WORDS by CYN COLLINS



Photo by Zane Sprang

Magic Castles, psych-folk band based in Minneapolis, now have the golden chance for their mysticore music to be discovered in “faraway lands.” Their eponymous double-vinyl was released in April via the Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman, Anton Newcombe’s label ‘a’ Records. And, now, Magic Castles are embarking on an East Coast tour with Brian Jonestown Massacre August 17 - 25, 2012.

Pivotal psychedelic band Magic Castles formed in Minneapolis in 2006. Their new double vinyl is a compilation a varied spectrum of songs from earlier self-released CDs: The Lore of Mysticore (May 2008) and Dreams of Dreams of Dreams (May 2009) and the more experimental cassette Songs of the Forest  (Moon Glyph label).

Magic Castles’ phantasmagorical haunting music is a haunting, heavy hazy interweaving of innumerable guitar tracks and vocals. Magic Castles song content is surreal, mystical and fantastical – the stuff of dreams. “I try to avoid doing therapy sessions through songs. I don’t want to hear someone’s true story account of something. I do try to write love songs, sort of...“ said Edmonds.

The mood of their music conjures the sunshiny surf of “Big Sur,” to Farfisa drones and sweeping soundscapes rife with dark lyrical matter coined “mysticore” - involving trolls, golden birds, and other creatures “conjured from the lands of the mushroomed mind” on their epic 7-minute “Ballad of the Golden Bird,” the song which attracted Anton Newcombe’s attention, and his consequent spinning their music while DJ’ing in Iceland, Berlin and more.

Magic Castles lead vocalist/guitarist Jason Edmonds purchased his first The Brian Jonestown Massacre record Give it Back! in 1997, inspired by his first psychedelic music influences in the mid-90s such as Spacemen 3, Galaxy 500, Spiritualized, and Stereolab. When Edmonds attended SXSW 2005, everything changed.

“When I went to SXSW in 2005, I saw Psychic Ills, Gris Gris and Vietnam and a bunch of other bands. I was really into 90s indie rock which I’ve lately been getting into again, I was listening to Yo la Tengo. That blew my mind. It had heavy reverb vocals and sounded like it came from another planet and when I heard that I was like, 'shit, I want to do that!'”

At that time, Edmonds was in an instrumental band called Nymore with guitarist Jeremiah Doering and keyboards/vocalist Noah Skogerboe. “I really wanted to sing, and have the vocals drenched in reverb. That was the foundation for Magic Castles,” said Edmonds.

So, in 2005 Edmonds began home recording on his 4-track. At the time, “there was a lot of powerpop in Minneapolis. A few people were doing 70’s power-rock. There wasn’t much trippier, softer shit on the radio. I wanted to make the music I wanted to hear, to fill that gap.” Edmonds added Doering and bassist Paul Fuglestad, who was also into ‘90s psychedelic and shoegaze music. A rotating cast of players and friends joined them along their six-year journey, including Skogerboe, featured on the new self-titled double-vinyl.

When Anton Newcombe heard an early Magic Castles song via youtube in 2010, he was excited about it, and put it on his Ustream.tv outlet, Dead TV, an experimental social media phenomenon. Newcombe remembers, "The song that introduced me to Magic Castles was ‘Ballad of the Golden Bird.’ I really think it is special, so much so, I decided to ask the group if I could release this record through my label, ‘a’ Records.”

Newcombe contacted Edmonds directly in Fall, 2010. “Talking with Anton was a surprise. He was like, “Hey, let’s make records!” I said, ‘Alright, let’s do it!’ When I first got his emails I was really excited. It wasn’t anything I’d ever tried to seek out. For me to have all this happen because of music, means a lot to me because music is what it’s all about.”

Edmonds comments on the film Dig! which portrayed largely negative views on Newcombe, and working with him over the past two years. “Paul and I had been going to BJM shows for years before Dig! came out. Once that movie came out, we were able to read between the lines of the slanderous bullshit. There’s a lot more to Anton than that movie portrays. He’s not an asshole, he’s brilliant. He got a bad stint from that movie - people think he’s psychotic and crazy, but he’s not.”

Newcombe called Edmonds inviting them to tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre in late summer. Along with Edmonds, Fuglestad and Doering, are newer members, keyboardist Alex Pennaz (of The Flying Dorito Brothers) and drummer Scott Weller, (of Fire in the Northern Firs).

Magic Castles members note Newcombe and the BJM organization have been very supportive since he first contacted them in 2010, then producing Magic Castles and releasing it through distributor Cargo Records in March, 2012.

It’s going around the world, he’s introducing us to his fans and there’s a lot of them. They’re really receptive to this kind of music, obviously. The time is now. We’re going to go on the road and just kill it, hopefully,” said Edmonds.

Album Cover Photo by Summer Badawi

Album Cover Design by Dan Black

The album cover photograph was from Summer Badawi. I worked with her at the Birchwood Cafe. She’s a master gardener in Pennsylvania. She took photos of her garden with a Holga camera. She had photos of lily pads too. There’s a bunch of pictures I saw of hers I wanted to use as a collage. We gave it to Dan Black to design the album cover. He did the font too.” – Jason Edmonds

The Brian Jonestown Massacre w/ Magic Castles tour dates:

·  Thu Aug 16 Minneapolis MN @ First Avenue *
·  Fri Aug 17 Milwaukee WI @ Turner Hall *
·  Sat Aug 18 Chicago IL @ The Metro *
·  Mon Aug 20 Atlanta GA @ Variety Playhouse *
·  Tue Aug 21 Carrboro NC @ Cats Cradle *
·  Wed Aug 22 Washington DC @ 9.30 Club *
·  Thu Aug 23 Philadelphia PA @ Union Transfer *
·  Fri Aug 24 Boston MA @ Royale *
·  Sat Aug 25 New York NY @ Webster Hall *.

Interview Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe 

 

Shoko Ishikawa
Ever since his misbehavior became the stuff of rock legend—as chronicled in the documentary Dig!—Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe is frequently described as one of music’s reigning bad boys. Coverage for his band’s music? Not so much, but it’s not because he’s undeserving. His act’s latest, Aufheben, continues Jonestown’s tradition of mind-bending psychedelic oeuvres, despite the fact that the famously hard-living songwriter has been clean for a few years. Before his show Friday, Aug. 17 at Turner Hall, The A.V. Club had a magical mystery tour of a chat with the mercurial vocalist-guitarist.
The A.V. Club: Aufheben has a straightforward psychedelic feel. Was it a deliberate shift away from the rhythm- and groove-based songs on your Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? album?
Anton Newcombe: I personally needed to reset the clock artistically for me, in a way [on Sgt. Pepper]. I haven’t been fairly treated by the lazy journalism in the history of the project, like people saying, “He just likes The Rolling Stones, he fancies himself in the ’60s.” You know what I mean? It’s never been just that. I consider it psychedelic, but it’s in the broadest sense of the term. It’s not wearing psychedelic clothes, or something like that. It has to do with anything can be a part of it, mind-expanding crap. In the way The Rolling Stones, or bands of that era, could play cello music or tea party jazz or some Indian sitar music or a ’50s-sounding song—it’s like, “Oh, he’s on marimba. He’s playing a sitar. He’s playing rhythm and blues.” That’s the part of psychedelic things that I like.
I felt like it was important for me to reset the clock, basically blast out something really random and get fucked up, then not get fucked up anymore, just to be really, truly free.
AVC: Do you think that approach on Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? changed the way people look at Brian Jonestown Massacre?
AN: At some point it occurred to me, today people go on a talent show and they’re waiting for validation. It’s like permission to be famous or something. Nobody ever gave me permission in my life. A lot of people walk around with those little accolades, and they feel like they have permission to have attitude and everything that comes with it, right? At some point, I was like, “I’m so fucking legit. I own a LTD, which is a corporation. I have 14 employees. I go all over the world. I have my studio in my apartment.” At some point I just said, “This is who I am.”
AVC: That seems like a punk-rock attitude toward the world.
AN: I grew up in the punk rock [scene] in California, which is totally different than the New York Dolls or the English thing. The people in the West definitely have a more freer attitude, more pioneering-leftover kind of thing. The people in New York, it’s the immigrant thing about making it in the evils of the city. In California, it was like, “Fuck you, we’re going to do what we want. We don’t want your Ronald Regan bullshit,” or whatever. The reality of the yuppie world that we live in, it was a reaction against that, with the freedom and youth culture. That’s in me as much as anything else.
AVC: You mentioned that people always call Brian Jonestown Massacre a ’60s-based band. While there are those elements in it, you never seem to have tried to be a revivalist act.
AN: We were very, very lucky that way, because I used that as a point of reference, and also used montage and post-modern techniques; I used reference points to the ’60s. I used ’60s instrumentation. I’m influenced by the music of the ’60s. It’s a mishmash of everything. To me, psychedelic can be all the way to a DJ. House music can be very psychedelic. Flying Lotus is very psychedelic. Even though it’s urban and technological, it’s also mind-expanding, anything-can-go mishmash.
AVC: These days, you live in Berlin. Why did you choose to become an expat?
AN: I am a bohemian person. I don’t speak German, and I live in a foreign country where all the signs are in German. I did that deliberately. I’m like a ghost.
AVC: You’re deliberately out of place living in Berlin?
AN: Look at how much media and advertising you’re subjected to, this mindless chatter of advertising—and even people talking around you. I just block it out so effortlessly because it’s all a foreign language to me. It’s really a good thing for my head, living in Berlin.
AVC: That’s an interesting way to go about avoiding advertising in the public sphere. Banksy’s criticism of public advertising is that you have no choice but to be subjected to it.
AN: You’re a victim of it. I love him. He likes me, too. We’re kindred spirits in a lot of ways.
AVC: Have you ever met him?
AN: Well, who would know, right? Yeah, he just changed the oil on my car last week. [Laughs.] He touched base with me on MySpace, back in the day. I used to do this stuff called Billboard Liberation Front with these people, these characters in San Francisco. We used to jack billboards all the time, all the ads. We’d just climb up and change them. These guys, like John Law, would literally do the neon on the Camel sign, just change the words completely, with real neon tubes. He did that as a day gig. He’d just fuck up these things. You can find the evidence of it in the Survival Research [Laboratories] publications. It’s so amazing.
I’ve always been a fan of that kind of destruction of corporate property occasionally. Even graffiti. A funny example is one time I was in a riot in San Francisco, on the edge of it. Some anarchist guy with a bandanna on runs by with a spray can and sprays “Fuck shit up” on the wall. A policeman was standing right next to me; I literally walked up to it, pulled [out] my Sharpie pen, and just changed it with little lines to “Buick shut up.” The policeman just laughed. It was so cool, because the spray paint said “Fuck shit up,” and I was like, “Okay, I will!”
AVC: Speaking of unrest, the word “aufheben” has several meanings that don’t translate directly from German, and many are used in the context of protest movements. Which definition applies to the album?
AN: If you’re an environmentalist, global warming, you’re going to learn about this word, “aufheben.” It means to abolish or destroy, or to pick up and preserve. Basically, the concept of tearing something apart to save it. If you apply it to German culture of the last century—not only the DDR with the Stasi and all that stuff, and the Communism—Germany and the culture, they had to completely destroy the culture to elevate it and to preserve it.
Hegel was using the word even before National Socialism, even a modern expression in what we saw, not just with the Holocaust, but with culture and race, across the board, whether it’s Gypsies or Russians or whatever. They completely had to destroy that. Everybody’s house? Puff.
If you look at [Aufheben’s] cover, it’s the Carl Sagan diagram from the Voyager program. They sent that plaque on the two spaceships out of our solar system with the concept of reaching out to send a signal looking for intelligent life. It says, “We’re humanity. We’re humanoids. This is binary information. Inside this ship is a record player, and this is how you work a record player.” I thought it would be funny if a German scientist put the actual word aufheben on the plaque. Yes, this is who we are and what we are. It needs to be destroyed to be preserved.
AVC: Was that what you were trying to do with this record? Start fresh?
AN: No. I’ve been a fan of esoteric information, ghost stories, since Leonard Nimoy and beyond; whether I believe in them or not, I enjoy them. I knew that 2012 was coming and people are freaking out about the Mayans. I’ve been thinking about making a 2012 record for a long time, sort of the soundtrack for that time period. I wanted to be ready. I wanted to make sure I had a band.
AVC: Like a soundtrack to the paranoia leading up to the end of the world, or the apocalypse itself?
AN: The apocalypse. I’m really interested in eschatology. You can look that up on Wikipedia. It’s the study of end times. Whether you’re Jewish or Islam, they all have this rapture or tribulation type [of story]. If you’re from India, they believe that Kali is going to come, and there’s going to be a great battle. It doesn’t matter what culture. I’ve always been into that stuff.
You think of Daniel Day-Lewis getting into a role; he’ll become this character and just fucking live it, even when he’s off camera, until he’s onto the next thing. I like to do that, too. I think it’s really fun to sing from the perspective of a shamanistic, Ezekiel-type character. You’re getting the Holy Spirit, or a spirit in you, and you’re going to confront the thingy-wingy, the all-seeing thing. I like to get that in my head and write from that perspective. So when I write songs about love, I use a literary device where I might be singing about God, even if I’m talking about drugs.
AVC: You’re sober these days. Does that affect how you approach music?
AN: I want to emphasize something. It’s not sober as in AA-sober. For whatever reason, I had broken my arm, and I became addicted to opiates. This is years ago. I had to stop doing that. Then I started drinking. I liked being buzzed all the time, like a mellow drunk, ’50s style. Like maybe Frank Sinatra, you know what I mean? It’s in your blood, and it takes a month to get there, but then you’re rolling for the rest of your life. Not getting in fights or slurring your words, but obviously being lit and having that lifestyle.
For me, drinking a liter of vodka every day, my intention was never to commit suicide by drinking and drugging or misadventure. It became time for me to stop. The only way you can quit drugs or booze is truly to quit. It isn’t like the sobriety thing; if you’re buzzed or stoned or on Prozac all the time, it becomes the way that you see things. It becomes a filter. The bottom line is, I would really like to work on soundtracks, and drinking and drugging isn’t going to help that in any way. A three-martini lunch isn’t going to get me a gig doing a soundtrack for a movie. It’s not necessary for what my real goals are.
AVC: Does that change the way you go about making music? Everyone still talks about Jonestown being a totally drugged-out band.
AN: Yeah. It becomes intimidating. One thing: Alcohol changes your hearing. I quit before last tour, and I was like, “Everything sounds so fucking weird the way you guys are playing.” [Alcohol] thins your blood, so your hearing isn’t the same. My whole relationship with music, with recording, had been based on the way I had been hearing sounds with a light buzz on for my adult life. That changes, and now I have to work with somebody until I develop another method of operation of understanding what other people will be listening [to].
AVC: Does being sober help with your reputation? You’ve been known as a firebrand since the days of Dig!
AN: I was doing an interview with the J Post [The Jerusalem Post] because I was doing in a show in Tel Aviv. They were like, “You have a bad reputation.” I’m listening to this journalist, and I’m thinking, “Do you know anything about Israel and your own reputation? It’s a mixed bag of tricks, too.” I didn’t bring it up because I’m not trying to wind someone up, because they are very defensive about that. The analogy that I used with him was—I’m not bagging on him—I just said, “You could say that the Hell’s Angels have a bad reputation, then you talk to a biker, and he’s trying to join it. It just depends upon who you’re talking to about reputation.”
AVC: Once it’s established that you have a bad reputation, it’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, with everyone approaching you differently.
AN: People try to provoke stuff. Most journalists just get into a holding pattern, and they wait until someone throws something out that’s just ridiculous, and they run with that. They really don’t have any knowledge of the recordings or any interest in it. They’re just going through the motions of their journalistic function. I’ve done interviews with Entertainment Weekly and everybody that you can think of, and I understand how people approach the stuff. Some people are familiar with it, and some people aren’t. It’s obvious to me, [from] how people approach questions, whether they’re thinking.
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Brian Jonestown Massacre carry onward




Life of Anton
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  August 15, 2012

 

 Since the release of 2004 documentary Dig!, Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe has been dogged by public perceptions.

Bring up Anton Newcombe to anyone familiar with the mid- to late-'90s Bomp! Records roster and you'll hear about the unheralded genius of one of the most talented musicians of the last two decades. Unfortunately, the majority of people didn't form an opinion about the Brian Jonestown Massacre leader until the 2004 documentary Dig!, watching as he struggled with substance abuse, became physically violent to his band members and the audience, and even sent a bullet to on-again, off-again musical cohorts the Dandy Warhols. Many have questioned the integrity and nonlinear storytelling of the film in the eight years since its release, but Newcombe, who brings his psych-rock ensemble Brian Jonestown Massacre to Royale next week, is still dogged by its not-so-flattering portrait.
"I think when you're externally looking at another person that you only know from what other people say, you're only responding to what other people are talking about, you're already pretty far removed from reality and you're commenting on comments about a person," Newcombe said last week from Berlin, his home since 2008. "People forget that human beings aren't very static, and whatever you're commenting on may have been only reflective of a moment and not the big picture. I don't dwell on it as much as other people."
One of the more bizarre examples of the Dig! fallout, according to Newcombe, is that he has been banned from Canada. "It is absolutely ridiculous," he says exasperatedly. "You would think I would've been banned from Israel or someplace weird right, like Switzerland or something, where people are uptight. 'We don't want you in Sweden; we've got our shit together — you don't,' or something like that. But it's not the case; it's fucking Canada of all places. But since I've got it all out in the open, man, I don't like their fucking government either. So, so what? It's not based on reality. I don't have a police record. It's based on the perceptions of their ├╝ber-hipster fucking customs people."
Part of Newcombe's take on politics and governmental hypocrisy has been emboldened by his time overseas. He spent time in Iceland in 2007 recording the Brian Jonestown Massacre's acclaimed My Bloody Underground, and this spring dropped the brilliant Aufheben, recorded in his Berlin-based studio. "I think I'm the type of person that likes to set goals and try and do different things," Newcombe says. "I'm not really attached to any one place; I like it [in Germany]. I don't want to be distracted by my gut feeling of how society is going in the United States." He laughs before adding, "I try to just get on with my work."
The California native brings up, as an example, the recent tragedy in Milwaukee, where a gunman shot up a Sikh temple, killing six before taking his own life. "In America they should be able to talk about what it means to be able to acquire a firearm, without it being, 'Oh, it's an attack on our Second Amendment,' and try to stop the conversation," Newcombe says. "[People] never get around to the reality of having that many guns in America. You can't drive without a license, but you can acquire a weapon regardless."

Further cementing just how far removed he's become from the Dig! portrayal, Newcombe casually brings up "a small remix project" he's been working on for the Dandy Warhols, whom the documentary painted as bitter rivals with the BJM. "It's for 'The Autumn Carnival,' from their new record," he says of the remix. "I did a total like, Depeche and Kraftwerk — but no samples; like '70s-style, just getting weird. Any chance I get to turn somebody else's band into Bronski Beat I take, pretty much."
BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE + MAGIC CASTLES | Royale, Tremont St, Boston | August 24 @ 6 pm | 18+ | $20 adv./$23 doors | 617.866.8933 or boweryboston.com









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interview can be found here
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Brian Jonestown Massacre is back, and frontman Anton Newcombe -- still best remembered for his wigged-out personality in the rockumentary "Dig!" -- is reiterating his good taste by bringing the Twin Cities' own hypnotic, psychedelic drone-rockers Magic Castles along for the wild ride. Newcombe just released the Castles' eponymous new album on his label, A Records. BJM also has a new one to promote, "Aufheben," another mad swirl of guitar-driven psychedelica. (7 p.m. Thu., First Avenue. $20.) Riemenschneider

(updates daily)




things and stuff.















BJM's Anton Newcombe previews Friday's Turner Hall show

























On Friday, The Brian Jonestown Massacre will play its third show in as many years in Milwaukee, visiting Turner Hall for a 7 p.m. gig.
It's hard to classify this band, but having seen their last two shows in Milwaukee, I can safely say that BJM is one of my all-time favorites.
Newcombe is touring in support of the band's new record, "Aufheben." The album is reminiscent of BJM's earlier work, but it also sounds distinctly different from the vampy, guitar heavy, almost surf-rock music you'll find on its two-disc retrospective, "Tepid Peppermint Wonderland."
Interestingly, BJM has been a little more visible lately, as its 1996 song, "Straight Up and Down" is the theme song to HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."
If you saw the 2004 documentary, "Dig!," you'll know that the band's front man, Anton Newcombe, is a very complex, albeit brilliant, musician. So, distilling a 15-minute phone conversation with him into one interview, in which we talked about everything under the sun, wasn't easy.
From his home in Berlin, Newcombe said he likes playing in Milwaukee. "Turner Hall is right next to a German beer garden, right?"
But seriously, "Wisconsin, despite recent events, is a progressive state," said Newcombe. "I like salt of the earth, normal people, and I also like its progressive politics."
For an unbelievably prolific band that was seemingly recording nonstop in the late '90s and basically received no radio airplay, BJM is also an incredibly experience live.
"I think you'll enjoy this trip, because we've been out for a couple of months doing Europe and the West Coast and Australia. I think the band's playing pretty good," he said.
So how is "Aufheben" both different and the same as the band's other work?
"I like to see things evolve, but also stay true to whatever traditions and theories are involved," said Newcombe.
I asked Newcombe if "Boardwalk Empire" has opened his music up to new fans.
"I'd like to think that's true," he said. "But I think it's a combination of so many different factors all at once. If I do a Google search on my band's name in the last week, all sorts of people are name-dropping me as a point of reference. That's kind of cool, because one of my goals was to enter the popular lexicon.
"Music is a really strange medium, because when you think about it, in the really big picture, mediocrity disappears. You have to force yourself in your craft if you want to hang in there. All of our recordings are conceptual art."
After interviewing the Dandy Warhols' Courtney Taylor-Taylor this spring, I was almost afraid to ask Newcombe about "Dig!"
Taylor-Taylor is still furious about the film, but Newcombe is much more at peace with it.
"I don't think the movie was very fair to (Taylor-Taylor), specifically. I made it very clear from square one when I saw what they were trying to do with the finished product, that it wasn't OK."
Still, Newcombe acknowledges that the movie showed that average people can follow their dreams.
"It's one of our primary goals, to reinforce that folk notion about what it is that I'm doing, that kind of environment. It's like a marketing strategy.
"If you watch the Beatles, except for playing guitar, there's nothing that they do that you could. Those kind of guys influence people to seek fame, but if you're watching Jimmy Page play, there's nothing that he'll show you that leads a person watching to think that they can become him.
"I'm more interested in folk music that's so natural, that maybe you're watching your grandma sing. If ("Dig!") inspired people to do stuff, then that's what I'm really interested in."
 










 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MAGIC CASTLES (REVIEW)

Magic Castles (A Records)

Listing The Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3 and Galaxie 500 as influences can go either way for a band; as all three bands are incredibly influential and held with major regard; the listener is immediately set up for delight or disappointment.

Fortunately for fans of well-crafted, well-written and performed psychedelia, Minneapolis' Magic Castles delight and don't disappoint, and it's pressed up on high quality 180 gram vinyl to boot housed in a lovely gatefold cover.

The magnificent opener "Death Dreams" sets the tone from a swirling jangly bed capped with clear vocals and excellent harmonies. Fortunately, the mix doesn't bury the vocals as many bands within the genre are inclined to do. The ending guitar freakout manages to be freaky enough but soothing and groovy ala "What Goes On". The second track, "Now I'm A Little Cloud" certainly wears a strong Galaxie 500 influence on its sleeve, yet while Galaxe has not aged well for me (sorry), this track showcases once again the above-average song craft of the group highlighted by some vivid imagery in the lyrics. I really dig how this track gets a bit more out-of-tune sounding as it drifts along, yet still remains so pleasantly whimsical.

A standout track is "Imaginary Friends", which takes the opening chord progression from the Velvets "Femme Fatale" and somehow turns it into something unique thru the creative melody and unexpected chord progression change. Beautiful Sunday morning music, suited for coming down or waking up.

Spread out among four sides for maximum sonic impact, side two begins with the gorgeous "The Ballad Of The Golden Bird" which sets the mood with soothing feedback, organ and more of those pretty vocals that are reminiscent of the dark, bad trip side of Smile. Once the band kicks in just under the two minute mark we're treated with a lovely, unforgettable guitar break followed by more incredibly triply lyrical imagery on top of a melody that reduces me to a puddle. An extraordinary track, one which is the focal point of the entire record. As "Ballad" drifts off into the ozone in a psychedelic haze, the song cross fades into "All My Prayers", which follows the drone all the way into pure drug-free tripping. Here we are, five songs into the album and each song breathes its own personality and each is also a fully realized vision. This is an album in the truest sense of the word. The man can say the album is dead, but as long as visionaries such as Magic Castles walk the earth the album lives on, and I thank them for that.

On to side three and through sequencing that is downright genius, the group lifts off again with "Songs Of The Forest", which motors along with the most gentle (though mind melting) groove this side of Easter Everywhere.

I'm hoping by this point in my rambling you have stopped reading and simply bought a copy of this masterpiece for your very own. I could write about the rest, but I've already written too many words. This record is essential. A big thanks to Magic Castles and Anton Newcombe (the A behind A records) for this remarkable release.

-Derek See

listen to "Songs Of The Forest"

 



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