Saturday, September 24, 2005

Welcome to the Hiatus.

After some encouragement and the hit counter getting more of a workout than usual, instead of stopping work on It's Magic! altogether, I'm going to put it on hiatus until further notice. As you hopefully do, visit Soul Shower and Dr. Moshe's Medicinal Music (the good doctor is a good friend) and sooner or later there will be a note or some links or something that tell you It's Magic! is bigger, badder, and better than ever. Until then...two more artists to feature...

Black Cat Moan (1974)
We Gotta Move (Keep On Rolling) (1974)
(from Hobos Heroes & Street Clowns)

Most folks know Don Nix because he wrote the classic blues tune "Going Down." He also was a saxophonist in the Mar-Keys and wrote, produced, and performed with many other artists. Just like every other person known for their performing and songwriting in the 70s...Nix recorded a handful of solo albums. Hobos Heroes & Street Clowns was released on Enterprise in 1974 and was the 3rd solo album released by Nix. Nix grew up with some other musical heavy hitters--Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn. They all went to the same high school...I bet they had quite a band. Anyway, Nix writes good songs and the production is solid--check the tunes. Enjoy.

In Love Again (1991)
Got It At The Delmar (1991)
Fishing At Tescos (1991)
(from The First of Too Many)

Before Jamie Hewlett drew some pretty pictures for the group Gorillaz...he helped out this British pop-punk band with some cover art. Senseless Things formed in 1987 over in West London, England, put out a few albums and disbanded in 1995. The First of Too Many is apparently their best work and is a solid piece of Buzzcocks/Replacements influenced pop/punk/rock music. I picked up this CD in a bargain bin and it was definitely that. Listen to all three tracks, enjoy a few weeks or so off from It's Magic! and we look forward to having you back after the hiatus. Enjoy.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Another day closer...

It's kind of the blog winds down the hit count has been higher everyday. While that is inspiring, it isn't quite inspiring enough. With that said, here is one of the last batches of artists being featured on It's Magic!


G2 (2005)
Nocturne No. 1 (2005)
(from Remasterpiece)

For anyone who likes classical music when they hear it, but aren't really sure they want to dive into the mounds of composers, orchestras, and collections...this is a solid place to start. Chris Coco and Sascha Puttnam take some of their favorite classical music moments and add ambient textures and sounds to create an aural experience that is fresh and exciting. The website for the release has a lot of information, as well as different outlets you can purchase the release at--EMI put it out so...that means you can get it almost anywhere. It was a daunting task to pick a couple tracks off of the album that are representative of the whole thing. Hopefully, "G2" and "Nocturne No. 1" do Remasterpiece justice.


Wishing For Contentment (1999)
Dora Goes To Town (1999)
(from Oh! The Grandeur)

Andrew Bird was an occasional part of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and in addition had this group to call his own. Bowl of Fire never has a dull moment mostly because it jumps between a number of genres that your typical alternative music fan may not always indulge in. Oh! The Grandeur was the second Bowl of Fire album, and features fantastic fiddling from the headliner, as well as guest spots from Bird's Squirrel Nut Zipper friends. Andrew Bird/Bowl of Fire are still releasing things, and they have an official website here.

It's Alright (2005)
Step Ready (2005)
(from Tempus Fugit)

Back in the mid to late could find me at just about every ska show in Wisconsin...I'll admit that. My musical tastes have changed drastically over the years, but there is something about the ska bands of today that go for that more jazz-oriented sound of yesteryear (Hepcat, Deals Gone Bad, etc.) that still really grab my attention. Eastern Standard Time--a D.C.-based band with members of the Pietasters and Skunks--is one of those groups that reminds me of why I liked ska in the first place.

The tunes are fun and danceable while refraining from being musically typical or lyrically tacky like some ska bands of the third wave (some people love that, it just isn't my thing). These tracks come off of their newest album Tempus Fugit, which is available from Jump Up! Records (one of the few ska labels that has made it through the ska backlash of the early 2000s--reminds me of people hating disco--some people still liked it, but others were waving their ska-hater flags). I just wish someone would reissue some of the Moon Ska NYC catalog...enjoy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Killing Three Birds With a 2001 Stone...

Here it's three for one post...all tracks from 2001 (clever, eh?):

Mastered The Art (2001)
Bath Music (2001)
(from Mastered the Art on Ubiquity)

Greyboy is a cool DJ that does a lot of chill work, and has put out some cool mixes as well. He has been a DJ since the 80s and released most of his work on the San Francisco label Ubiquity. All of his sides are excellent--and I'm not a huge electronica-type guy. This guy has a lot of good stuff out, none of which is terrible. Dusty Groove has some of it at low, low prices. His official site is here.

Heatwave (2001)
(from the "Heatwave" single)

Staying on the somewhat electronic tip--before doing their cool, French alternative stylings--the group Phoenix released some instrumental singles prior to recording a full album. The first is known as the Ghettoblaster 7" (which I have but, unfortunately, not in mp3 format right now) and the second is "Heatwave" b/w "I Love You (Cruz Esteban remix)." The A-side is featured for your enjoyment, and is a cool little number. Not quite sure if a person could use this in a DJ set or whatever...but regardless it is solid. Check out the official Phoenix website. Enjoy.

Y'all Stay Up (feat. Talib Kweli) (2001)
(from Unlearn)

Our final 2001 post is from a Wisconsin group called the Youngblood Brass Band. There is this kind of popular hip hop guy on the track too...maybe you've heard of him...they call him Kweli. The track has Kweli rapping with a brass band doing some mellow things in the background. The rhyme is cool, nothing extraordinary, but a pretty good guest spot considering the group is Wisconsin based and emcees rarely show any love for Wisconsin. They've got a website as well. Enjoy this too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

British Elder of the Blues

The Bear (1968)
Miss James (1968)
(from Blues from Laurel Canyon)

Today seems to be the day of the Brits on this hurried (and final) posting week of It's Magic! This was the second album John Mayall did (I believe) after the Bluesbreakers disbanded. It is my favorite Mayall album (even more than the Clapton one) and was a steal to pick up a near mint copy at a resell shop for a dollar. Besides the great Mayall, a young Mick Taylor is ripping up the guitar on the record, making this a must-hear for fans of his. There is a CD reissue available (domestic and import) that should definitely grace your collection. Enjoy.

Mary Hopkin

Those Were the Days (1968)
Turn Turn Turn (1968)
(from 45: Those Were the Days b/w Turn Turn Turn)

Reasons for buying this: it was produced by Paul McCartney, it was on Apple, and it was ten cents at a Salvation Army. Can't say that the songs disappointed considering the investment. Mary Hopkin was a Welsh singer brought to the attention of Paul McCartney by the beautiful Twiggy. The first tune above, "Those Were the Days" actually knocked "Hey Jude" from the number one spot in the UK. Hopkin didn't have many major hits after "Those Were the Days." She wasn't as good looking as Twiggy, but still cute...that makes the lack of a second major hit OK.

The hyperspeed posting has begun...there will be two to three entries for the next couple days. Descriptions will be lacking, but I had some music lined up for the site, and really don't want to leave that in an archive so it will appear like wildfire until Friday. Friday will be the last day for It's Magic! It will still be here...but it won't get updated anymore. Thanks to those of you who have regularly checked the site. Please keep going to Soul Shower (It's Magic!'s much more successful sibling) or Dr. Moshe's Medicinal Music. It has just been revamped, has a new direction and is most definitely worth checking out. Enjoy.

BONUS: Thanks to Dr. Moshe--here's another great track by Mary Hopkin. The great doctor reminded me about this most excellent single that was written by McCartney and released in 1969. Probably better than anything on her first album (and it was a good album) and was also her other hit.

Here's the track:
Goodbye (1969)

The Basher (part two)

Cruel To Be Kind (1979)
Switch Board Susan (1979)
Dose of You (1979)
(from Labour of Lust)

Nick Lowe's first album was previously featured on It's Magic! (click here). Labour of Lust was the second solo effort from Lowe, and stands side-by-side (in terms of quality) with Pure Pop For Now People/Jesus of Cool (it doesn't hurt that Rockpile is the band backing up Lowe on the record).

Three songs are above for your perusal. The write-up is short because this is the last week It's Magic! will be around. I'm going to keep the address and everything...but with school and Soul Shower, this blog is getting neglected in a horrible way, and there is no point in doing something half-assed. There will be some mp3s up this week that were transferred from records, but after that It's Magic! will be poof gone. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Rusty Ps

Boomerang Effect (2001)
All I Have (feat. Slug & DJ Abilities) (2001)
(from Out of Many)

There are a number of hip hop groups in Wisconsin that aren't all that bad. None have gained a lot of national attention, but they do well around the Midwest. The Rusty Ps are one of these group. They've had a steady output of stuff since their debut Out of Many in 2001. Hadn't listened to this disc for a few years, but it's a good disc. The production is solid and they've got guests from Atmosphere (Slug) and the Pharcyde (Imani). Not bad for a self-released hip hop disc coming out of Milwaukee. They've recently released their third full length disc, which you can pick up (with a bunch of other vinyl, etc.) at their website. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Gatemouth (1924-2005) & Burnside (1926-2005)

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - Street Corner (1977)
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - Chickenshift (1977)
R.L. Burnside - Shake, Little Baby (1980)

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (pictured) passed away recently, as did R.L. Burnside. Burnside's passing happened awhile ago and has been covered by a number of blogs. It's Magic! would've featured a post awhile back, but Burnside has never been a personal favorite, and as for the recently passed Brown--well, he just started to grace the collection. I do know that, before he passed, Brown was living in New Orleans and evacuated to Texas to live with family.

Both deserve (at the very least) an in memoriam post. The two tracks from Gatemouth are off an album called Blackjack (1977--both are smokin'!) and the track from Burnside is off of Sound Machine Groove (1980). If you know of a blog that has posted on these two legends, drop a line in the comments section and they'll be placed into the main post. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Cary Brothers

Honestly (2004)
(from the All The Rage EP)

Garden State was an excellent movie which had an equally excellent soundtrack. Sitting next to folks like Nick Drake, The Shins, Zero 7, and more well-known artists was an unknown cat by the name of Cary Brothers. His song "Blue Eyes" was featured in the movie and on the soundtrack, and put the guy on a lot of people's "I heard it first" radars. After the movie did well and the soundtrack started selling like mad (on its way to gold status), Brothers decided to self-release an EP. It contains four songs, including "Blue Eyes." Two ho-hum/run-of-the-mill indie rock, but one track in particular proves that Brothers has a great of the four songs on the EP feel a bit amount of potential. "Honestly" is a song about an ex-girlfriend that Brothers had some trouble getting over. The honesty of "Honestly" is what will make Brothers more than simply a guy from a soundtrack. A new EP is out now at the iTunes store and available in non-digital form from Paste magazine. All that information and more can be found on the Cary Brothers website. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Junior Boys

High Come Down (2004)
(from Last Exit on Domino)

Canada coming through with some nice stuff here. This has been around for about a year, but had been pushed back into one of those "it'll get listened to some day" piles. The Canucks' sound is somewhere between the best work of New Sense, Kings of Convenience, and Postal Service. Instead of using all the modern electronic toys to make something that sounds like an episode of "I Love the 80s," Junior Boys make quality music that is perfect for any degree of chill you may want to be experiencing. Their website has some more information about past releases (a couple of singles) and upcoming tour dates (all in Europe). A beautiful debut LP. If you're like me and missed the boat this time last year...enjoy. If you're so hip that you already have this album...laugh and point.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

From the cover of Time to NBC

Out the Game (2003)
(from the I'm Good mixtape)

The man is everywhere! This is sort of old news, but if you missed what Kanye West did during the NBC telethon on Friday, head over to iFilm and check out what the man who recently graced the cover of Time had to say. Quite the statement and definitely a daring move. Everyone has talked about it, but It's Magic! just wanted to show its appreciation for from-the-gut honesty. The track above is from a mix that came out pre-College Dropout, and features Kanye and Consequence rapping over an Al Green loop, with John Legend doing a wonderful Al Green impression. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sons & Daughters

Medicine (2005)
Red Receiver (2005)
(from The Repulsion Box)

Sons and Daughters haven't received enough attention. They've been getting some, no doubt, but they deserve much more. The band's sophomore release The Repulsion Box sounds sort of like Franz Ferdinand learning to play the mandolin and joining forces with a alternative celtic folk group...sort of. Comparing musical groups has never been a strength, so that will have to work until you hear the tracks and form your own opinion. The lead single from The Repulsion Box is a very danceable little number called "Dance Me In." Considering that Sons & Daughters is on indie label extraordinaire Domino, it seems likely that the group will experience a slow but steady growth in popularity over the next year. For now, just take some time to listen to the first two tracks off of The Repulsion Box if you haven't heard them. Your friends will probably like the band too...enjoy.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Bathroom Bandits

She Came In Through the Bathroom Window (A&M, 1970)
(from Mad Dogs & Englishmen)

Joe Cocker has one of those voices that makes you wish you could sing. Cocker is always rough and tumble enough for the gentlemen's taste while remaining seductive for the ladies. This song is one of the best known from his Mad Dogs & Englishmen album, and likely everyone has heard the other famous version of the tune as well. School is starting up for me and the music listening has been going back to old favorites that bring back pleasant memories of summer, winter, fall...anything that temporarily takes the mind off of academia. This post isn't about the background, just about the sound. Listen, enjoy, and buy. However, maybe hold off on buying an album or two for a few weeks and help out all the folks that are in need in New Orleans.