CD Review: Pigeons [2010]

Band: Here We Go Magic
Release: 6/2010
Label: Secretly Canadian

1. “Hibernation” – B
2. “Collector” – A-
3. “Casual” – B-
4. “Surprise” – A-
5. “Bottom Feeder” – B+
6. “Moon” – C+
7. “Old World United” – B+
8. “F.F.A.P”- C+
9. “Land of Feeling” – B+
10. “Vegetable Or Native” – B-
11. “Herbie I Love You, Now I Know” – C-

Comments: This is one of those mistakes where some intern at Secretly Canadian got a hold of this LP three months before its official release and decided that it was somehow in his best interest to upload online. The thing about my dad, Luke Temple, is that he knows deeply what he wants to accomplish, but his music is too much for the average miscreant to understand. Well, pops got himself a band this time around and a few overt pop hooks. Been to a Here We Go Magic show sometime in the past eight months? You definitely heard “Collector.”  By the by, the band went down hill the second they dismissed Greg as the drummer. Yes, he only played one gig with them in Boston, but still you can’t do that. Dad didn’t hear the end of that one. You might ask well “why aren’t you giving your father high marks on every song?” Because that’d be bullshit and plus he left me for New York City. This LP is less weird than when pa did hard drugs. Think of the self-titled as a heroin trip and this as your average acid trip.  At any rate, I bet you’ll find yourself liking some songs on here at least. It can get kind of freaky at times like in “Moon,” but that’s expected with a hermetical title like that. I’d say in general the band is like a messed up Grizzly Bear. “Vegetable Or Native” is my principal reference. It’s just one of those songs that you never thought adults could come up with.

Grade: B- (83)

Concert Review: The Walkmen, Here We Go Magic, The Dig @ Mid East Downstairs (9/19/09)

Ham!

Bands: The Walkmen, Here We Go Magic, The Dig
Venue: Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA
Date: Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Dig
Ben: The Dig was really good. They have great bass work. The bassist/singer looks like John Mayer but dresses and sings like the guy from Vampire Weekend [Ezra Koenig]. The guitarist/singer’s songs kind of remind me of early Radiohead. The Dig does unconventional rhythm very well. I’m getting technical here but they use weird time signatures and timing changes, and sometimes it’s hard to tell where the “center of gravity” is. But it’s a really nice change from your standard timing in music. It’s also a technique that’s *very* hard to pull off. With their stuff it’s often much harder to locate the center of gravity. That’s what really stood out about them for me.  Really great, inventive rhythms.

Glen: The Dig were just as awesome Night Two as Night One and in the end probably slightly better. They changed up their set-list trivially. Both nights the song I loved most was “Penitentiary.” It has all the makings of a mainstream power pop number, yet it still maintains a very distinctive alt-country sound. The bassist/singer’s voice is very distinctive. I think the guitarist/singer’s songs were more experimental, less hard rock. An example of the heavier stuff was the song “Just Wanna Talk To You,” bringing back memories of live Louis XIV but more explosive and…better! The first night they ended with that…the second night it was second-to-last.

Chris: Pretty damn loud and noisy, so of course I liked it. They rocked out and were really passionate about their music.

Here We Go Magic
Ben: Here We Go Magic was great especially considering the drummer situation. It was the first time I heard “Tunnelvision” with electric instruments and I liked the noisy turn it took towards the end. Luke’s vocals were great.

Glen: Go Chad! Once again, I want to recognize him for truly being instrumental to HWGM’s Night Two set. Night One was ambient…Night Two still maintained ambiance, but all songs especially “Tunnelvision” and “Fangela” sounded far greater with Chad. It takes a lot for an experimental folk band like HWGM to perform a well-executed set; each band member was up to task and enthusiastic.

Chris: I liked it, but not as much as the first band. I commend Chad, the fill-in drummer for having the chops to play on par with the band. Also the bass guitarist and the pianist were sexy!

The Walkmen
Ben: The Walkmen are a tight group with a good mix of songs. Good mix of alt-country, folk, and noisier rock. Really great singer.

Glen: Showcasing quite a bit of new material (according to the band, some old songs they refuse to play), The Walkmen proved that they didn’t need to delve too deep into their repertoire to be awesome. Both nights were astonishing (mind-blowing), but Night Two took the cake! Night Two was quite similar to Night One in a lot of ways; a brass section was featured notably on “Canadian Girl,” “Louisiana,” and “Red Moon,” Ham’s veins were popping out of his neck, etc, etc. Both nights featured the best of the Walkmen (at least according to your average fan): “In the New Year” and “The Rat.” BUT only on Night Two did The Walkmen play “Thinking Of A Dream” (incredible audience reception), “Donde Esta La Playa,” and Bows and Arrows classic “138th Street.” The Walkmen are a class act and no less than one of the best active bands in today’s post-punk revival era.

Chris: They put on a fantastic show! I loved “Louisiana,” especially the horn section. My favorite song was “In the New Year.” Hamilton clearly has a distinctive voice.

Pictures From Night Two

TheDig
Everyone dug the Dig!

HereWeGoMagic
Luke Temple and crew were without their drummer. A spectator standing near me from Night One named Chad, a huge fan of the band, offered to fill-in as the drummer. And he was nothing short of excellent.

Hamiltonandhorns
Hamilton Leithauser and the horns!

HamiltonandPaul

Leithauser and Paul Maroon deserve an equal amount of credit for the fine show that they put on both nights. Leithauser played guitar on a few songs and sung his heart out on every song. Maroon handled lead guitar on all songs. Not pictured, but thanks and credit should go to Walter Martin (keyboards/bass), Peter Bauer (keyboards/bass) and Matt Barrick (drums) as well.

Night One: “The Rat”


Just a few notes from last night: The Dig were amazing. The bass lines on all of their songs just were, again, amazing. Pure rock n’ roll. Here We Go Magic were without their drummer and as a result they had to rely on looped guitar effects and spacey keyboards. Of course, “Fangela” and “Tunnelvision” were the most recognizable highlights. As witnessed in the video above the Walkmen played their most all-time most popular song “The Rat” followed by “In The New Year,” their hit from 2008’s You and Me. They also performed “Canadian Girl,” “Four Provinces,” “On The Water,” “Postcards From Tiny Islands,” and “Red Moon” off of You and Me. Of course a four piece horns section contributed to a few of those songs and it was awesome! They might have played “Little House of Savages,” but I honestly can’t remember! They played a three song encore. The last song of the night? What else but a 9 piece rendition of “Louisiana”! That would make Chris happy if they did that again. I just want to say that Hamilton Leithauser is the man. I’ve always thought of him that way, but you gotta see this guy live! He was pounding shit out like crazy and he’s always got that look like he is pissed, but he really isn’t.

Can’t wait until tonight!

CD Review: Here We Go Magic

Band: Here We Go Magic
Release: 2009

1. “Only Pieces” – 8.2
2. “Fangela” – 8.7
3. “Ahab” –8.3
4. “Tunnelvision” – 9.2
5. “Ghost List” – 8.3
6. “I Just Want To See You Underwater” – 8.4
7. “Babyohbabyijustcantstanditanymore” – 6.4
8. “Nat’s Alien” – 7.2
9. “Everything’s Big” – 8.9

Comments: Freak folk can, on any given day, be a genre of its own. Here We Go Magic escape what is traditional folk and produce songs that embody major elements of modern epoch psych-folk (slightly think Grizzly Bear) YET still maintain a strangely post-punk sound (in some areas), which is similar to the Walkmen, if only the Walkmen took acid. The sort of problem, if you want to call it that, is that if Animal Collective made these songs they’d be better. Music snobbery right there. Anyway, songs that are completely instrumentals of thunder and ocean waves can, in fact, be decent. And then there are songs that are completely instrumentals of alien noises that can, in fact, be awfully obnoxious. Could I stand watching this band two nights in a row for thirty minutes or more? Yes. Maybe I will grow more of an appreciation of them. Maybe I won’t and I’ll just make it through because I know that one of my favorite bands of all time will follow.

Final Grade: 8.2

Here We Go Magic open along with the Dig for the Walkmen on September 18 and 19 at the Middle East Downstairs.