Somehow I’ve made it five years without giving up on this ramshackle miss-mosh of reviews. I came close to scrubbing this site clean on numerous occasions, but something keeps me doing this now and again. Much love and appreciation to all the folks who visited us and even sent along some kind words. Anyhow, let’s not gush. Here is our latest in a long line of monthly mixes.

Magicistragic Mix for June

Joao Gilberto-Aguas De Marco

Swamp Dogg-Do You Believe

Electric Wizard-Vinum Sabbathi

Charlambides-Those Who Walk

Adolescents-Kids of the Black Hole

Endless Boogie-Taking out the Trash

The Breeders-Safari

My Bloody Valentine-(When You Wake) You’re Still in a Dream(Peel Session 1998)

Phil Yost-Bent City I


Wire-The 15th

Eddy Current Suppression Ring-Wrapped Up

The Woolen Men-Her Careers

John Maus-Hey Moon

Lyme and Cybelle-Follow Me

Royal Trux-Back to School

Morly Grey-After Me Again

Killing Joke-Eighties

Glass Candy-Beautiful Object

The Dovers-What Am I Going to Do?

Magicistragic mix for May

Sometimes life grows hectic and puttering around on the internet loses its luster for a bit. This is one of those times. I fully expect to find more time to aimlessly ramble about albums in the near future. In the meantime, here is another mix that captures the vibe of my evening. On an unrelated note, this humble blog is slowly approaching its fifth anniversary this summer. Would anyone out there like to design a graphic to commemorate our humble beginnings when the day finally rears its meager head? If not, I guess I’ll just create a portrait of a bawling wizard myself.

Steely Dan-Babylon Sisters


Tortoise-Magnet Pulls Through

Pere Ubu-Non Alignment Pact

Tamaryn-The Waves

The Clean-Getting Older

Glenn Jones-Across the Tappan Zee

Jimi Tenor and Kabukabu-Africa Kingdom


Marcos Valle-Ele E Ela

Bob Seger-Evil Edna

Django Django-Hail Bop

Lilacs and Champagne-Sour/Sweet

His Majesty’s Coachmen-I Don’t Want to See You

Thee In-Set-They Say

Damien Jurado-Birdcage

Girls Names-Drawing Lines

The Chills-After They Told Me She Was Gone

Gene Clark-Jimmy Christ

Thee Oh Sees-Putrifiers II

Television Personalities-Anxiety Block

Captain Beefheart-Twist Ah Luck

Magic is Tragic Mix: February 2013

Yeah, I’m lame and post more mixes than albums these days, but I’ve got an excuse this time. A flu descended upon my abode and my son, wife and I have been recycling some bad hoodoo between us for the past month. Therefore, blogging about unpopular albums fell somewhere between roll over and die and wish for a healthier tomorrow in my daily to-do list. Anyhow, this one is a bit of a sloppy mess of songs that have lightened the load during these contagious times. It falls somewhere between an ode to 90s indie-pop and its forefathers, divergent strains of reggae and library music coupled with the greatest hits of the 60s and 70s compilation that only exists in my mind. Hope you enjoy.

April March & Los Cincos-Baby Blue

New Age Steppers-Fade Away

Melody’s Echo Chamber-I Follow You

Kevin Ayers-May I

Royal Headache-Never Again

The Pastels-Nothing to be Done


Keith Hudson-Playing It Cool

The Baird Sisters-On and On

Robin Artus/Paul Kass-Alphia Micro

Harlem-Friendly Ghost

Ducktails-Hamilton Road

The Oblivians and Quintron-Live the Life

Lower Dens-Tea Lights

Flaming Lips-Hit Me Like You Did the First Time

Times New Viking-No Room to Live

Chris Darrow-Shawnee Moon

Segun Bucknor-La La La(Part One)

Fairport Convention-Million Dollar Bash

Butterglory-Back of My Hand

Guided By Voices-Non-Absorbing

Beau Brummels-Laugh, Laugh

Blawan-Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?

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Magicistragic Mix for January

I’d like to imagine this chronologically impossible mix of  something I possibly could be nodding along to on a discman while wandering the streets late at night somewhere on a summer night in 1998.

The Young-Livin Free

The Go-Meet Me at the Movies


Gastr Del Sol-The Seasons Reverse

Cate Le Bon-What is Worse

Fruit Bats-So Long


Broadcast-The Equestrian Vortex

Liars-No 1 against the Rush

Tubeway Army-The Life Machine

Melody’s Echo Chamber-Some Time Alone, Alone

Bowery Electric-Deep Sky Objects


Royal Trux-Back to School

Toy Love-Swimming Pool

Rotary Connection-Memory Band

Magicistragic Mix for December

I’m generally a humble fellow, but I kind of think this one might be the best one yet. It’s an eclectic melange of styles. That’s just a fancy way of saying that I slapped a bunch of random shit together on here and somehow it all made perfect sense when I was finished. You’ve got cajun stompers, Colombian psych-pop, Simple Minds going bananas before John Hughes rang, sloppy and strident punk and a finale that makes a flute and harp seem like the most sublime pairing. This goes out to an old friend, Robert Craig, who is celebrating a birthday today and should be playing this at Vinnie Van Go Go’s in Savannah when he next gets his ass to work. A secondary shout out to everyone who will play this in their groove chambers, man caves or whatever gender neutral term you can craft for a place where good souls go to commune with a good album and a glass full of the concoction of their choosing.

Alexi Murdoch-All My Days

The Makers-Don’t Challenge Me

Spent-Good Luck Line

Simple Minds-I Travel

The Balfa Brothers-J’ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard Et El Belette

The Mekons-Never Been in a Riot

Jessica Pratt-Night Faces

Daphni-Yes I Know

Besnard Lakes-You Make Loving Fun

Montrose-Bad Motor Scooter

Clifton Chenier-Mama Told Papa

Lloyd Price-Stagger Lee

Captain Beyond-Sufficiently Breathless

Ana y Jaime-Es Largo el Camino

Tamaryn-Heavenly Bodies

Father John Misty-Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

Pink Floyd-Summer ’68

Austin Pitre-Two Step a Tante Adele

Kay Gardner-Moon Circles


Magicistragic Mix for November (NEW LINK)

didn’t feel much like rambling tonight, so here is another mix that it wholly unrepresentative of the month in which it was sired. It’s an eclectic mish-mash of African funk, twee posturing, hippie sentiments, strange punk tangents and assorted odds and ends. I can only hope you enjoy, appreciate and send it along to those who bring a smile to your noggin.


Dando Shaft-Coming Home to Me

I Faram I Gami-Mulatu Astake

Pastels-Million Tears


Luxury-Green Hearts

Rail Band-Maabayasa

Dororthy Morrison-I Can’t Go On Without You

Lennie Hibbert-Twilight Zone

Das Ding-HSTA

Gomez-Tijuana Lady

Grizzly Bear-A Simple Answer

John and Beverly Martin-John the Baptist

Bridget St. John-I Like to Be Out in the Sun

Michael Hurley-O My Stars

Lloyd Price-Coconut Woman

Mountain Goats-Shadow Song

Reilly and Mahoney-Wildman

Desperate Bicycles-I am Nine

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Magicistragic Mix Number Four

February 25, 2012

Magicistragic Mix Number Four

I’m going to keep this a regular feature on this blog since I only get time to pontificate once a week here, but there is so much more to share in this grand and wonderful world. Consider these to be a series of entryways to the musical wormholes I hope you explore on your own. Anyhow, this one is a bit shorter than the last, but it is a lovely place to while away a lazy hour pondering the lazy pace of a rainy night like the one enveloping my home at this very moment. By the way, please friend magicistragic on facebook if you get a moment if you would like to receive more frequent missives and youtube clips of lonely souls who are not forgotten in my neck of the woods.

Willis Alan Ramsay-Ballad of Spider John

Bubble Puppy-Hot Smoke and Sassafrass

Carol Kleyn-Love’s Goin’ Round

Virgil Caine-The Great Lunar Oil Strike

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks-Ramp of Death

Sagittarius-Song to the Magic Frog(Will You Ever Know)

Cass Mccombs-AIDS in Africa

Shrimp Boat-What Do You Think of Love?

Baden Powell-Canto do Cobollo Preda Petra

Bobby Whitlock-The Dreams of a Hobo

The Ify Jerry Crusade-Nwantini/Die Die

Ofege-It’s Not Easy

Sleepy Labeef-Pork Salad Annie

Creme Soda-Tonight

Magicistragic Mix Tape #3

January 25, 2012

Magicistragic Mix Tape #3

I haven’t compiled one of these in many a moon, but the tea leaves have gathered in such a way to make it so. Anyhow, the vibe is one of mellow hibernation as the pace never quickens and life remains static as you waste an hour or so listening to whatever has been echoing throughout my domain. Pay special attention to Nathan Abshire who is pictured above since I am kind of dumbfounded by how great his music is lately.

Please befriend magicistragic on facebook if you would like additional links, videos and the inane prattlings of  yours truly.

arthur verocai-cabocia

the woods band-everytime

howard nishioka-incresha

wild nothing-live in dreams

papercuts-once we walked in the sunlight

nathan abshire-pine grove blues

meat puppets-up on the sun

fairport convention-tried so hard

carlos paredes-variaes em r minor

comet gain-you cant hide your love forever

pink floyd-fearless

clive palmer-the girl from the north country

charlie rich-i can’t go on

grateful dead-pride of cucamonga

james gang-there i go again

john villemonte-i am the moonlight

kevin ayers-all this crazy gift of time

monochrome set-inside your heart

the humblebums-mary of the mountain


the hollies-stop right there

leon russell-out in the woods

barefoot jerry-come to me tonight

Music for Melancholy Moods: Part Deux

One of the most popular posts on this garbage heap was Music for Melancholy Moods, a mix of songs designed to drag you into the dumps. The original was conceived amidst a heap of beer bottles and sour intentions and its sequel will be no exception. Being the predictable soul I am, the previous collection stopped at the letter M once my sobriety wore thin like cheap toilet paper. Hopefully, this one will strike the same dour chord.

1. Whiskeytown-Sit and Listen to the Rain (From the Fucker demos)

Never cared much for the band, but like some of Ryan Adams solo debut, but the tape hiss coupled with a hushed ode to ennui and rainy days occupies a dear place in my heart. I love few things more than the greyness and incessant drip of a rainy day in spring. These are moments where you ponder your navel while enjoying the mist and drip.

2. Unrest-Imperial (from Imperial fffr)

This is the song that makes sense of Unrest’s eventual association with the 4ad label. Instead of ethereal balladry ala This Mortal Coil’s take on “Song to the Siren” and Lisa Gerrard’s “Sanvean” we get a pasty indie-rocker who somehow channels the majestic grandeur of the label at its finest. An epic eight minutes that should last so much longer, “Imperial” breaks my heart in all the right places. Awkward falsettos never sounded quite so sublime.

3. Michael Hurley-Tea Song from Blueberry Wine

Never has a song about brewing tea and preparing a meal of honeydew achieved such pathos. His tender description of this snack seems to be the only thing holding together as he speaks of a relationship gone wrong. He tries to play it cool, but this daily ritual of drinking tea along is the only thing tethering him to earth while his emotions are run into the dirt. I had never heard this song until five years ago when I had the pleasure of seeing him live. It left me dumbstruck and found it to be the most moving tale of a man who hugs his humble comforts and sense of humor in times of trouble.

4. Terry Allen-“Cortez Sail” from Juarez

Someday I will pay tribute to this lonesome country concept album. This is not the time for such things. However, “Cortez Sail” is awash in folklore and apocalyptic tales of the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs. There is something chilling about his portrayal of Cortez as he prepared to attack and something hopeless about the depiction of the Aztecs watching the conquistadors sail onto their shores. It then jumps to a narrative concerning the album’s  protagonist as he attempts to escape his own inescapable fate. The song reminds me that certain outcomes simply cannot be avoided no matter how hard we wish otherwise.

5. Neil Young-“Comes a Time” from Comes a Time LP

This ong reminds me of chances missed and those that were taken. The intrsumentation is simple, but perfect as fiddle and a string section duke it out while Neil Yound tackles a moment where life could go horribly wrong or end in happiness. Depending on your mood, you can choose your own adventure with this song.

6. Sunny Day Real Estate-“Every Shining Time you Arrive’ from How Does it Feel to be Something On

Don’t laugh. I always loved this album because it is so troubled and in search of meaning in the world. Many of the lyrics seem so naive and innocent in the face of a world that is quickly becoming claustrophobic. This one sticks with me the most because it mirrors the moment I bought it. I had just broken up with a live-in girlfriend and bought every depressing album that my grubby mitts would hold. I immediately bonded with this song because it dealt with a relationship that nudged a boulder up a hill only to have it roll backwards at the last moment.

7. Steve Young-“That’s How Strong My Love Is” from Rock Salt and Nails

Sometimes it’s just as simple as a perfect country rendering of a soul classic. No explanation is needed.

8. Stephen Stills-Change Partners

He uses a debutante ball as a metaphor for the restless nature of relationships. Love is temporary because eventually someone taps you on the shoulder and your love is dancing with another in front of your eyes. His reassurances that this is natural provide little comfort.

9. Songs Ohia-“Back on Top” from The Lioness

Suppressed violence and testosterone lurk beneath the surface of this one. It deals with a man tortured by the glimmers of hope he sees in his lover’s eyes and the mere sight of her body. He cannot have what he once had, so he keeps reiterating that he will show her when he is back on top again. It is a battle for superiority in a relationship where both parties view love as a competition instead of a collaboration. There is something about that concept that bums me out.

10. Sibylle Baier-“Tonight” from Colour Green

Not much to this but a woman coming home from work to sit with her lover as they gaze at the moon, but there is something spooky and melancholy about her delivery. It reminds me of lying on a roof and gazing at the heavens because it seems like there is nothing more fruitful than simple observations next to the one you love.

11. Scud Mountain Boys-“Scratch Ticket” from Massachusetts

Instead of wasting money in juke joints and barrooms galore, this character wastes his money in a far less hedonistic fashion. The Scud Mountain Boys recast the country weeper and replace whiskey with the scratch ticket as the bane of the working man or woman. Bleary eyed drunks are replaced with desperate souls with quarters instead of shot glasses.

12. Richard Thompson-“Beat the Retreat” from Small Town Romance

Masochism at its finest. It is a song about a man who destroys all he treasures just so he may retreat home to the one he supposedly loves. On one hand, it is a testament to the love of a woman who will harbor her troubled husband no matter what, but it is also about a man who creates a tempest as an excuse to feel needed. From reading about Richard Thompson’s life, I’d bet the house on the latter.

13. Richard and Linda Thompson-“Calvary Cross” from I want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

Well, let’s see where this give and take began. I see this song as a bit of a parable for Richard and Linda Thompson’s troubled relationship. This song touches on some of the same themes as “Beat the Retreat” as Richard Thompson again deals with a similar situation where one wrongs the other, but Christian principles are expected from the offended party. There is one line in the song which sums up this fucked affair. He states that “I’ll hurt you til’ you need me” and talks of someone who remians at the station, but refuses to board the train. He almost seems proud of the mistreatment and confuses need with love.

14. Phil Ochs-“I’ve Had Her” from Pleasures in the Harbor

I almost hope this song is ironic. “I’ve Had Her” alternates between one man’s romantic perspective of a certain lady, but switches to that of another man who coldly proclaims that “i’ve had her, she’s nothing.” I cannot figure out if it is a condemnation of misogyny or a narrative of love gone horribly wrong.There is something cruel about this song that sticks in my craw. It is orchestrated as a dreamy melody, but the sentiments are so ugly.

15. Antony and the Johnsons-“hope There’s Someone” from I am a Bird Now

This song unsettles me as it forces you to deal with your last moments and who you would choose as your last visitor. It is a plea for relief and comfort in your dying hours.  I first heard it while walking to work and it made me teary-eyed as thoughts of mortality intruded upon my every thought. Not a great way to start the school day, but a necessary evil as the years march onward.

16. The Mountain Goats-“Sahdow Song” from The Coroner’s Gambit

This one reminds me of a time when a relationship cracked, but hope remained that crazy glue and good intentions would reinforce mere shards. It is a song where hope attempts to outdistance the reality of love’s slow demise. Part of me admires its optimism, part of me gets depressed by the reality of the situation.

17. George Jones-“She Thinks I Still Care” from The Spirit of Country Compilation

Where do I begin with George Jones? All of his music has been a destructive buddy in my hours of drink. However, this one is timeless and captures the essence of his masochistic tendencies. There’s plenty of sadism in his love as well, but George does more sulking and sipping than focusing on revenge. However, there is a cruel tinge to his mourning.

18. John Martyn-“Go Easy” from Bless the Weather

I remember the day I bought this album and put it on the stereo. Rarely has an album begun in such a vulnerable position. John Martyn is a fucking wreck. His bouts with addiction and ruined relationships have left him a mere eggshell to cover his heart. The song is a plea for all involved parties to take it easy for a bit because his heart simply cannot take much more. The chorus begs for life to go easy on him, but the optimist in him still hopes love won’t pass him by. Another talented masochist whose losses created great music, John Martyn takes 70s folk to some really painful places.

19. Bauhaus-“All We Wanted Was Everything” from The Sky’s Gone Out

During my teenage years, I sent a package to my girlfriend and wrote the chorus of this song on the envelope. It read “all we wanted was everything, all we got was cold.” The postal service worker stopped me to remark on how she thought the phrase was a witty one. I claimed ownership of this Peter Murphy chestnut, smiled and walked on my merry way. I felt shame afterwards and it saved me from quoting Nitzer Ebb and KMFDM on future letters.

20. The Ink Spots-“I’ll Never Smile Again” from Original Decca Recordings

Every Ink Spots’ song sort of sounds the same, but this one suits this collection best. Lonesome harmonies, pledges of sadness, old-timey innocence and a belief that heartbreak is terminal make this song one where you hang on every sullen word. There is no irony or wit, but a wholehearted belief that this love was the last to be ever experienced. Plus, the baritione breaks down love in such a simple fashion that i cannot believe I was such a conniving clod.

Hello all, here is the second take on a thematically correct mixtape for this lowly blog. The last one was devoted to songs that tug at the ol’ heartstrings, so I am predictably focusing on tunes that put a shit eating grin on my noggin. Some of these may not exactly be sunshine and lollipops, but they are all sounds that remind me of exceptional times in a lovely life.

1. Primal Scream-Velocity Girl(from a Creation single):

Forget their lamentable forays into the most homerotic take on the Stones this side of an Atlantic City variety act, this is Prmial Scream’s most consise, upbeat perfection of indie-pop. Sadly, they quickly abandoned this strain of genius for this laughable Sonic Flower Groove album. That one makes Mick and Bowie in bed seem more badass than the Hells Angels.

2. Zumpano-Behind the Beehive(from Going Through Changes LP):

I’ve heard many swoon over this band, but there is only one song of theirs that truly sings to me. Actually, it doesn’t just sing to me; it sums up all that I could ever want in a complex pop song. Each time I hear this song, I find something more to love about it. Total extension of what the Zombies were up to on Odyssey and Oracle, but less pristine.

3. The Zombies-This Will be Our Year(from Zombie Heaven Box Set):

Speaking of which, i picked this song to be performed at my wedding. Some friends in the Snow Fairies accomodated my wish and did a stellar job at capturing the blind-eyed optimism inherent in this song. More people should cling to the sentiments espoused here. This is a sunny day with a free hoagie in your footpath.

4. Unrest-Imperial(from Imperial fffr LP):

The lyrics say so little, but Mark Robinson’s delivery speaks volumes. It approaches the eight minute mark and I wish it would last an entire album. It isn’t an upbeat ditty, but it may be the most angelic ballad about the utter majesty of the sun ever recorded. Actually, it may be the only one, but I ain’t counting. Everything is in slow-motion as he hits every high note in his piggy bank. Totally stunning and it reminds me of why I listen to music.

5. Terry Riley-You’re No Good :

A mangling of a 60s soul number that takes the hook and reinvents it in countless ways until it becomes a mantra. A tribute to the power of pop that is so hallucinogenic, fucked, but so catchy that you forget it is just a manipulation of a few seconds of music spread over twenty minutes. This is the best moment of Terry Riley’s career and his most accessible in its own bizarro way.

6. Link Wray-La Di Da (From s/t LP):

This album bears little resemblance to the Link Wray you may have heard in the past. He recorded a few albums of southern psych pop/rock that are totally amazing. No bad ass vibes in sight. This is stoned bliss as Wray vamps like he is recording Exile on Main Street pt 2. It’s got the borrowed choir, Jagger-esque squeals, sleazy vibe and a shaggy dog demeanor.

7. Lee Michaels-Heighty Hi(from s/t LP):

This is the inverse of the previous track, It is as if you lobotomized the Stones and made a 70s bubblegum anthem. The title states its depth, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t dance like a lonesome fool each time it was played. Heighty Hi, indeed.

8. Hercules and Love Affair-Blind(from s/t LP):

I always had a soft spot for Antony and the Johnsons, but his vocals on this track have inspired me to sing this at the top of my lungs to no one in particular. I would wear coochie-cutters and poom-poom pants simultaneously to this one. The rest of the album is good, but this one almost dethrones Ten City’s “That’s The Way Love Is” as my top guily pleasure in house music.

9. The Gun Club-Sex Beat(from Fire of Love LP)

I like X and the Dangerhouse singles, but never got into much of the late 70s/early 80s West Coast punk scene, but the Gun Club’s Fire of Love album had me at hello. Their raunchy punk take on rockabilly and blues bears such little resemblance to anything recorded during that era. Miami and subsequent albums were such bummers in comparison. Again, the lyrics are a bunch of gobbledygook, but they deliver the message of a so-called sex beat so passionately that I almost find it sensual. When Jeffrey Lee Pierce sings “We can fuck forever, but you can’t forget my soul” I somehow listen with open ears.

10. Family Fodder-Savoir Faire(From Savoir Faire comp):

Yes, this song adheres to the new wave format of Toni Basil and Missing Persons, but there is something damaged and imperfect about their attempt at pop music. Considering the oddball nature of their catalogue, it is no surprise that their attempt at a catchy tune is downright brilliant, but destined to appeal to so few. This song goes through the motions of being a new wave hit, but it doesn’t quite fit into that peg, which is why I love it so.

11. Drive Like Jehu-Here Come the Rome Plows(From Yank Crime LP)

This is what I always wanted punk to sound like and it was an absolute pleasure to finally hear it realized. I had the pleasure of seeing them on the Yank Crime tour in Philly at the Khyber Pass and it may be one of the most exhilarating shows I’ve seen this side of Michael Hurley. I couldn’t hear well for days, but I didn’t mind because it was all peak and no valley.

12. Devo-Gates of Steel(From Recombo DNA LP)

Let me count the ways I love Devo. On second thought, that’s a bad idea. I can’t explain why Gates of Steel is my favorite song they recorded. It is a clunky, awkward anthem that should have been more popular than it was. It may have been their most straightforward punk/new wave anthem that didn’t involve whip. i listen to this version incessantly, which worries me at times, but there are worse songs to waste your life upon.

13. Blank Dogs-Meltdown Cloud(from On Two Sides LP)

You may disagree, but this song reminds me of New Order’s Movement layered in scuzz and sped up to punk tempo. Since I adore Movement and its cold, robotic view of the universe, this whole album uplifts me in an unhealthy way.

14. Belle and Sebastian-The Boy With the Arab Strap

Long ago, a friend stated that this song reminded him of me. The narcissistic side of me was thrilled to discover that the song was about a man with a filthy laugh, love of dive bars and uncouth demeanor, but depressed to find the song described his worst qualities. I’ve upgraded a bit, but still find too much in common with this song.

15. The Bats-The Other Side of You(From The Law of Things LP)

Pure optimism is afoot in this track, I always loved the upbeat, but melancholy mood of New Zealand indie-pop and this is one of its bittersweet pinnacles. The instrumentation is incessantly peppy, but the lyrics describe a tale of a lover discovering a hidden side of their lover. It perfectly describes the shifting realities of a relationship.

more to come, still working on it, five more will show up tomorrow, it is late and my cup is too deep.