Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Antlers

Could there be a more inauspicious name for a group than the Antlers? And yet it avoids all precedent in having nothing to do with clever wordplay, silly combinations or bad spelling. In a strange, ironic way, the name announces the unusual nature of Peter Silberman's music, his completely original approach without the aggression that often accompanies such experimentation.

On the band's website, their music is categorized as "space pop" but I cannot imagine a more misleading description. Apart from the fact that the downloadable album is entitled In the Attic of the Universe, there is very little connection with space or pop. This is much more down to earth stuff, taking us into ordinary spaces through extraordinary sounds - a vivid observation of detail akin to Vermeer's paintings.

Really, the Antlers defy description, ranging from folk ballads to soft rock to classical to just playing with sounds. Yet the whole is brought together by Silberman's genius - each song is unmistakably his, no matter how different. His voice has been given rather more credit than it deserves, perhaps, being reedy and weak at times, but that hardly matters since it fits so well with the melodic and peaceful nature of the music.

An example of how the Antlers can appeal to a wide audience is the pleasant and pop-like Two; much more experimental is Shh!, a song so true to its title that one has to smile. But most representative of their style is The Carrying Arms, an anthem of unexpected but appropriate sound.

I am attempting the impossible here, of course - one has to listen before any of this will make any sense at all. Go download and listen to the music that will influence the future. And, if you like your music live, have a look at the venues for their fall tour beginning on October 1.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Magic Wands

With vocals reminiscent of Roxette and elements of Concrete Blonde and Mazzy Star, The Magic Wands are a blend of the best of the 80s with an Emo/Goth overlay, a style most prominent in their song Kiss Me Dead.

The unforgettable Black Magic has a catchy and infectious beat with a refrain that you will find knocking around your brain from the moment you hear it.

Just as appealing is the story of band members Chris and Dexy's first meeting to their ultimate decision that they belonged together. After having communicated over the internet and phone, talking about music and magic and sending each other gifts full of special meaning to each, they decided to forge their talents to make a new music.

When they arrived in Nashville they began recording under the name Magic Wands, taken from one of Dexy's favorite things that Chris sent her—a magic wand.

The Magic Wands take their mixture of 80's style pop with a tinge of 90's club goth into a fresh direction. The lyrics are flowing but simple; if anything were to leave you wanting it would be this, but the pure joy of the music and the vocals overcomes this easily. You can't help but fall for the story in Teenage Love Song and find yourself listening to it again and again.

To hear more of The Magic Wands and get info on concert dates and tours, see their MySpace page.