PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Reviews

Here We Go Magic: 25 May 2011 - The Parish, Austin

There are few bands in the indie-rock scene that are capable of taking the studio template of their songs and growing them onstage into unique versions that take the listener on more of a journey.

Here We Go Magic

Here We Go Magic

City: Austin, TX
Venue: The Parish
Date: 2011-05-25

It might be just another Wednesday night to some, but it's a big night for Here We Go Magic. The Brooklyn-based psychedelic indie rock band is concluding a lengthy spring tour with a show at one of the best rooms in Austin. It's a perfect venue for the band, with great sound and ambiance. The band also has a strong new release out, The January EP, so there's new material to hear as well.

The show starts with an ambient jam that at first seems like it can't get off the ground. But then one realizes it's by design, as the group is setting the tone with a hypnotizing opener to condition ears for what's to come. The set takes off with “Hibernation”, the opening track from Pigeons, the band's sophomore LP from 2010. Guitarist/vocalist/bandleader Luke Temple's lyrics reference “no more weary daylight”, an appropriate sentiment since the sweltering Texas day is gone and the evening is now coming alive. Keyboardist Kristina Lieberson and second guitarist Michael Bloch add vocal harmonies to lift the song higher, as they will continue to do throughout the set.

The group's trademark mix of jangly guitars and ambient layers of swirly psychedelia create a unique sonic tapestry unlike any other band that has come through town in recent memory. “Casual” starts slow with the band still finding its footing before they build it into a deep jam that lets any casual fans know that Here We Go Magic are more than your typical indie rock band. They like to jam and those jams go to some interesting spaces. It's not the guitar-driven jamming that dominates the jamband scene, but rather a more unique style where the band pushes the songs into a deeper sonic territory than most bands are willing to attempt.

“Only Pieces”, from the band's first album, features some guest percussion from members of White Rabbits, who had asked Here We Go Magic to open for them in Austin last year. The song's mesmerizing groove goes to another level with the poly-rhythmic percussion. The energy of the set continues to grow, with bassist Jennifer Turner and drummer Pete Hale adding a deft touch. Here We Go Magic sounded great when they opened for White Rabbits, but it's clear that another year of touring has made the band an even tighter and more versatile unit than ever. Austinites must have a space in their hearts for them; when Lieberson requests someone get her a vodka soda after the song and an eager to please fan soon appears at the front of the stage with the beverage, bringing a great smile to her face.

The band really starts to gel during “Hands in the Sky” from the new EP. The song builds in slow but sure fashion until a delicious melodic swirl of psychedelia encompasses the room. Turner joins Lieberson on the keys, as the low end is replaced by an extra layer of keyboard melody. The band continues into “Song in Three”, the following track on the EP and easily one of their best songs yet. Lieberson establishes a dreamy psychedelic sound on the keys, while the jangly guitars create rippling sonic waves over the steady rhythm. The song takes on an underwatery, Atlantean vibe during an uplifting jam for one of the evening's highlights. The members of the group are all fine players, but the band's ability to skillfully blend different sounds together in majestic harmony demonstrates a whole that adds up to more than the sum of the parts.

“Tulip” is another new track that shines. It's got a more rocking vibe, but still with a dreamy sort of quality thanks to Temple's trancey vocals and harmonies from Lieberson. Lieberson and Temple really mesh on the jam, with the band taking an extended sonic journey that goes far beyond the studio rendition. “Land of Feeling” is another winner. It starts off slow and ambient, with Temple's dreamy vocals and Lieberson's ever-psychedelic keys intertwining to mesmerize the audience yet again. The subtle bass groove from Turner also stands out, as the diverse sonic parts mesh in luminous fashion once more.

The band has been at the top of their game all night, but they top themselves by closing it out with “Collector”, the breakthrough song from Pigeons that declared Here We Go Magic as a sonic force to be reckoned with. This next level song has it all – a driving danceable bass groove under an uptempo beat, highly catchy guitar lines and vocals, and majestic keyboards. It all adds up to a triumphant tune that is easily one of the most memorable of recent years.

There are few bands in the indie-rock scene that are capable of taking the studio template of their songs and growing them onstage into unique versions that take the listener on an extended journey. Here We Go Magic stand above the over-crowded indie field with this ability. This gives the band a vast potential to keep on growing in both skill and popularity themselves.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.

Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Music

Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.

Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.