Here We Go Magic Go Big
Sometimes bands arise fully formed. A couple well-placed blog shout-outs, an 8.7 review from Pitchfork, and they’re off, rocking every half-size venue from Brooklyn to the Bay Area. They’re playing 15 shows in five days at SXSW, scoring free beer and BBQ, and shaking more hands than they can remember.
Other times, the shit takes longer to turn over. Sometimes folks toil for years in relative obscurity before catching their train. Take Luke Temple for example. The guy, an alum from Boston’s prestigious School of the Museum of Fine Arts, released a couple pleasant, Dylan-inflected folk records—his first, a self-titled EP, first saw light in 2004. He scored a song, “Make Right With You” (from 2005’s “Hold a Match for a Gasoline World”) in a “Gray’s Anatomy” episode. His last record, 2007’s “Snowbeast” managed a 7.4 from Pitchfork. You might have caught Luke’s high, tremulous voice wafting through an airport Starbucks during a quiet afternoon, but otherwise things carried on much as they had before. Luke continued to ply his trade painting the apartments of New York celebrities—George Soros, Donald Fagan, etc. And so it went…
Then Luke spent two months in his apartment recording a smattering of hazy tunes on a little four-track—and Here We Go Magic was born. The self-titled record, released early last year, was markedly different from Luke’s earlier work: snippets of woozy, vaguely sinister psych-folk shot through with looped synthesizers and choppy West African rhythms. Pitchfork loved it. Luke got a band together, opened a few shows for Grizzly Bear, and finally generated the buzz that had always eluded him.
Now, with a new album, “Pigeons”—this one written and recorded with his full five-piece band—due out on June 20, and a tour lined up with White Rabbits and The New Pornographers, Here We Go Magic are well on their way. It didn’t happen for years, and then, suddenly it did. But that’s what happens when a talented singer-songwriter taps into the dominant aesthetic of the moment—lo fi.
The new single, “Collector” (ostensibly the reason for this entire post) only improves on the HWGM formula by ditching a bit of the grime of those earlier four-track recordings. The track is heftier, more propulsive that its cousins. There’re still those endless vocal loops and mellow synths, but now there’s ballsier percussion and an electric guitar or two arpeggiating its way into the stratosphere. Luke worries if his friend’s collecting habit—which includes a jones for African shrunken heads—might be freaking people out. “You girlfriend says it’s kinda sad,” he sings. Whatever. If Luke’s own career is any guide, it’s probably best to stick to your guns is these situations—girlfriend or not.
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