Author Archives: Meredith Melragon

MP3: Here We Go Magic “Hands in the Sky”

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MP3: Hands in the Sky, from their latest January EP

Here We Go Magic bring their swirling guitars, hypnotic vocals and insistent drums to Columbus, tonight at the Wexner Center.  Last year’s release, Pigeon, included, “Collector,” a Pitchfork Best 100 Track.  The New York Times highlighted their 2010 SXSW performance, describing the music as “a series of crescendos that rose and fell like waves crashing onto a reef. But the music had more of a rhythmic pulse than most psychedelia, underpinning hypnotic keyboard drones with tribal drums in a swirling maze of sound you could get lost in.” Super Desserts open the show.


Friday in Columbus: Sam Amidon

Sam Amidon is bringing his one-man multimedia storytelling and folk song explorations to the Wexner Center, Friday, February 18th — fresh from a weekend of shows with Nico Muhly and the Brooklyn Youth Choir, where his interpretation of an 18th Century hymn, “Jerusalem,” was a highlight. Amidon mixes banjo, voice and old folk gems to create what Pitchfork describes as a “meld (of) the rural and the urban, the organic and the synthetic, the oral tradition and the written score.”

Amidon collects songs and ideas, along with field recordings and drawings, and publishes Twitter poetry. His work isn’t limited to old tunes. He contributed a cover of Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” to the tribute album Harvest revisited, produced by MOJO Magazine. This fall he released a cover of R. Kelly’s “Relief” (stream above).

Amidon has released two full-length records on Iceland’s Bedroom Community Records, often collaborating with label mates Nico Muhly and Ben Frost, as well as Thomas Bartlett (Doveman). The New York Times describes Amidon’s latest, I See the Sign: “Playing guitar or banjo as he sings, he transforms all of [the songs], changing their colors and loading them with trapdoors. He slows them down and rewrites their harmonies, making curious, arty, quiet pop in his own mood – ornery, sensitive, distant. “I See the Sign” is a seriously intelligent record.”

Interview: Sharon Van Etten and Aaron Dessner of The National

Sharon Van Etten’s seven-song release of 2010, Epic, appeared on many best of the year lists, including NPR’s and Mr. Duffy’s, and she opened the Pitchfork Music Festival in July. Her personal, confessional songs have won her enthusiastic fans. She’ll perform with Julianna Barwick at the Wexner Center on Friday (Jan. 21). Catch her with her band as she shares songs from her latest release, and maybe a few new ones. Below she highlights the way the songs have changed over time and gives us a glimpse of the future.

Also, the bottom of the post has some thoughts from Aaron Dessner of The National, who is producing Van Etten’s next record (“At the moment I hear walls of organs and some weirder guitar textures/noise…”).

I chatted with Sharon as she was walking around on a “beautiful blue sky, freezing day” with Brad Cook of Megafaun, who was in New York for her Bowery Ballroom show January 8th. The sold-out show included a cover of REM’s Strange Occurrences. Sharon explained the cover: “I am really psyched for their new record to come out. I recently found an old album, Monster, and that song is my favorite on that record.”

Are you and Brad sharing new songs you have been working on?

Yeah, he’s been playing me new songs, and I have been playing him new songs, and it’s been a nice way of catching up.
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Tuesday in Columbus: Buke & Gass

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Buke and Gass make music much bigger than they appear. Homemade instruments are only the beginning of the story. Their “dizzying two-guitar polyrhythms” are joined by insistent percussion and vocals that have earned them comparisons to the Dirty Projectors. Now might be the time to catch them at a small venue. Their 2010 release, Reposte, was listed among NPR’s top 50 of the year. The above video gives a little taste of the power and energy from the album.

Tuesday’s show at Kobo (with the Jellyhearts, Talk Normal and Old Hundred) will be their first in Columbus, but they made a splash at CMJ in New York this fall. The New York Times wrote about them twice! Previous gigs include opening for Efferklang and the National.