Album Review: Magical Creatures Lull Us to Other Worlds with Wishing Machine

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The quixotic world of Magical Creatures is one of whispered private fairy tales from otherworldly lovers, deified by filled-in blanks and an ever-present spectral haze that softens edges and dulls the will. Much like the lotus eaters of The Iliad, Magical Creatures lull us almost supernaturally on their debut full length Wishing Machine with a myriad of guitars both flowery and direct, subtle electronic percussion that adds fluidity to each track, and airy, enchanting vocals done justice through artful production.

You can almost hear a prom night lament in the longing doo-wop allusions of “Enchant Me Baby” with its saccharine vocals and gently reassuring guitar melancholy. The distinct bravery of teenage naivete and romantic innocence perfumes lyrics about “plucking roses” and the all important question almost posed as a challenge “Would you give your life for love?” Magical Creatures inducts us into their dream with a moonlit serenade in which they’re already drunk on honey wine spiked with stardust. You can almost hear the maturation of teenage vulnerability in the cool laze of the guitars as vocals that could belong to dream girlfriends or maternal ghosts enfold us. A beat shimmering and shining with tambourine sparkle punctuates the aloof charm of “Twilight Soul” which at times recounts the painfully wasted beauty of Love and Rockets. However, the science fiction warbling of what sounds like a theremin underneath it all gives us a window into another romantic world and the track ultimately captures the sonic equivalent of an expansive sky ripening, bursting, and bleeding burning oranges, pinks, and deep violets that make kisses taste sweeter.

Magical Creatures often express a vulnerability in their music like the awkwardness of a young Dorian Gray who hasn’t quite realized how damned attractive he looks. “Birds of Paradise” artfully displays this vulnerability in its guitar strum while vocals carry an energy at once exotic and resigned, like an elegant caged bird that is the last of its kind and actually understands this. The psychedelic shoegaze nod and tastefully subtle programmed beats that give the track motion also lend a clean, refreshing quality of mellow pop modernism.

Plenty of Wishing Machine’s tracks could easily stand alone as strong singles just as they fit snugly into their place on the album. “Spiral Castle” spins a neo-psychedelic fairytale with sunny happy ending guitar lines and avian vocals softened by the purity of their plumage while the chiming psych pop of “Violet Eyes” insulates with fuzzy fullness that simultaneously sounds simple and spaceous in its haziness, further expanded by breathy vocals. “Carnival of Wolves” amplifies Magical Creatures’ charisma with colorful stained glass guitar effects and light doo-wop vocal punctuation while “Satellite City” captures the electrical optimism of new romance through a shared synchronous female and male vocal line over rolling guitar and softly rollicking percussion.

These moments of radio friendly pop perfection are equally matched by Wishing Machine’s more reflective moments. On the stellar “Bounty Hunter”, vocal passion is made clearer against a spacey backdrop of distorted decaying guitar, quickly opening up into an anti-gravity flow of sonic comets, burning tails weaving in and out and gently fading into a greater wall of sound with vocals like love letters broadcast into dead space and left to echo between the asteroids forever. Ornate and intricate guitar swoons into dreaminess on “Helicopter Blues” before culminating into an aural revolution that perfectly soundtrack a new determination in the vocals without compromising their soft allure. “Puella” offers something darker than the rest of Wishing Machine’s tracks, with a foreboding sense of eeriness in its atmosphere and skeletal electronic beat.

With Wishing Machine, Magical Creatures have created a soundtrack to reluctant goodbyes in twilit parking lots, teenage tales of nearly requited love, and imaginary worlds juxtaposed over the universal world that we all share. Each track finds the guitar plugging directly into the heart, vocals as soothing and intangible as gently shifting clouds of cool mist, and a refreshing lack of cynicism that really earns the term dreampop. The only danger of falling into such a dream is never wanting to wake up.


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Methyl Ethel Releases Video for “Twilight Driving,” ‘Oh Inhuman Spectacle’ Out Now on 4AD


Today, Methyl Ethel have released the official music video for their single “Twilight Driving” in celebration of the global release of their debut album Oh Inhuman Spectacle.
Hailing from the remote fringes of Perth, Western Australia, linchpin Jake Webb started Methyl Ethel in 2013 as a way of getting his bedroom recordings out in the public domain. Like 4AD peers Grimes and Bradford Cox (Deerhunter, Atlas Sound), Oh Inhuman Spectacle was crafted in isolation where Webb wrote, played and recorded everything, with fellow Perth residents Thom Stewart (bass) and Chris Wright (drums) recruited to bring the songs to life on stage.

Interview Magazine recently caught up with the band to discuss their album, influences, touring and more. You can read the full interview right here.
Methyl Ethel are currently playing a run of dates and festivals across the UK and Europe. The band will make their way back to the US in August to play Outside Lands in San Francisco and The Underground Music Showcase in Denver. A full rundown of dates can be found below.


Casket Girls Announce The Night Machine + Tour Dates


Casket Girls will release The Night Machines on June 3 via Graveface Records. The album is available to pre-order on LP and digitally now in the Graveface online store.  The band also announced a June co-headlining tour with Stardeath and White Dwarfs as part of the Graveface Road show. The upcoming tour will kick off on June 8th in Savannah and includes stops in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and more. All upcoming shows are listed below. 

The Casket Girls leave the safety of their blackout curtain lair to roam an apocalyptic world, questioning the essence of humanity, where the dreamers, prophets and vampires of the old world, work together to forge a new path. The concept is Singularity. Welcome to The Night Machines.


Vallens (Toronto darkgaze) share first video via The Fader


Karen is named after Karen Carpenter. Vallens wrote the song after witnessing friends and family with addictions, and how people with addictions are
misunderstood. Vallens also explore how Karen Carpenter’s addiction was
related to female specific issues that can trigger addiction. Musically it feels like a downward spiral.

Robyn Phillips spent her early years in Toronto playing lead guitar in several bands. With an experience of performing and writing in various genres, Robyn began working on material for her first solo project as VALLENS in the summer of 2014. Taking cues from everything from Rowland S Howard to Portishead, the project began to take shape with a concept of “Vallens” as an alter-ego of Phillips. Soon after, Vallens began recording a full length record with friend Jeff Berner of Psychic TV at his now defunct studio Galuminum Foil in Brooklyn, followed by several months recording songs at Candle Recording with Josh Korody (Beliefs, Wish).


Odonis Odonis share “Vanta Black” – ‘Post Plague’ out on felte June 17


Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald
Odonis Odonis tease us with a third and powerful single, “Vanta Black” which debuted over at THUMP deeming it a manic dance-punk song”.  OO’s highly anticipated Post Plague is out next month on felte and delivers an unforgettable blend of industrial, electronic and sci-fi. RIYL: Depeche Mode’s Violator, NIN, Soft Moon, D.A.F., Youth Code, HEALTH. The trio have announced a string of North American live dates including NYC’s Nothing Changes, Toronto, SF, LA and Montreal – full list available below.

“staccato bursts of Ministry-style guitar/drums that strafe across the otherwise hypnotically subdued synth patterns”- Pitchfork
“a visceral pushback” – FADER
“bows deeper to those darker electronic impulses” – Chart Attack


Princess Chelsea Releases “Is It All OK?” Music Video


Today Princess Chelsea shares a “weirdass” music video for the track “Is It All OK?” – taken from the album The Great Cybernetic Depression, released earlier in 2015 on Flying Nun Records and Lil’ Chief Records.

Long time video collaborator Simon Ward – who produced and directed the video – says “Is It All OK?” is a synthetic story of the love and loss of the human race.


Stephen Steinbrink shares “Building Machines,” announces west coast tour dates


Photo Credit: Hannah Klein

Today Stephen Steinbrink has shared “Building Machines,” the latest from his upcoming album,Anagrams.  NPR, who premiered the track today, are calling it “gingerly sweet” Anagrams, Steinbrink’s 7th album, is available for pre-order now and out July 1st via UK’s Melodic Records.

Stephen Steinbrink has also announced a west coast tour with Erin Tobey. All dates below.  (more…)

Hibou Announce First Headlining Tour, Release “In The Sun” Live Video


Hibou – the dream-pop band of Seattle’s Peter Michel – will embark on their first ever headlining tour next month, followed by a few Pacific Northwest dates opening for Rogue Wave. To commemorate the tour announcement, Hibou has shared a live video of the band playing “In The Sun” (off the self-titled debut album, out now on Barsuk Records) under a sheet fort.


Adia Victoria Unveils “Beyond The Bloodhounds”


“A voice equally suited for steamily languid ballads and steel-spined power.”

“”Dead Eyes” conjures a bar-room brawl from sparking guitar and choogling organ. Meanwhile, Victoria delights in lording her power with a spirited, almost comic performance, veering between seriousness and faux-incensed yelps. Whoever’s telling her she looks dead behind the eyes underestimates the force of the fire raging there.” –Pitchfork
“[her] ghostly folk tunes have given Nashville a creepy edge. ‘Dead Eyes’ is a pummeling and sinister track that finds Victoria yelping and refusing to back down.” –TheFADER
On Friday, May 13th Adia Victoria will release her much-anticipated debut album –
Beyond The Bloodhounds – on Canvasback Records. Today, you can listen to an advance stream of the album via several sites and radio stations including Open Air Denver, WFPK in Louisville, WXRT in Chicago, KXT in Dallas, KTBG The Bridge in Kansas City and WRLT Lightning 100 in her hometown of Nashville. Tomorrow the stream will be available on Afropunk. Adia will continue on her U.S. tour starting May 15th at Shakey Knees Festival in Atlanta and will hit New York on May 17th, playing the Mercury Lounge. She will also make her television debut on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert in June.