Today marks the arrival of one of my most anticipated local releases of the year: She Does Is Magic’s debut LP My Height in Heels. The project is led by Bloomington’s Chad Serhal. The album is Serhal’s second release of 2012, following his solo effort Golden. Listening to My Height in Heels, you get the sense that what Serhal enjoys most about She Does Is Magic are those moments when it really feels like a band. Those opportunities to get lost within and expound upon a solitary guitar riff that simply are not possible as a solo artist.
Every other of the eight songs found on My Height in Heels is an instrumental. But these tangents never distract or bog the release down. Serving instead to propel the work forward, the tracks function as the sonic equivalent of transition sentences – closing one thought and introducing another seamlessly.
Songs about girls are staggered between the instrumental interludes. Which, at the end of the day is what most good rock bands should be writing about. The opposite sex is a subject that fascinates Serhal. A subject, if we may read into the band’s name, he finds magical. It’s a healthy obsession. One that allows him to lucidly recall subtle details of lovers past, and recognize the shadow a relationship can cast upon a former favorite record.
I initially found myself irked by SDIM’s decision to recycle three of the tracks from the band’s self-titled EP, released digitally last year, but soon realized those emotions were selfish. All of the tracks on the EP were worthy of wax and shine brilliantly here – polished, remastered and in the case of opening track “Means Nothing,” stripped down and revamped.
My Height in Heels is a straightforward rock release that should give Hoosiers a sense of pride. Listen to the album in its entirety below. A release party will be held this Thursday at The Melody Inn where SDIM will be joined by Hotfox and The Broderick. Grab your copy of My Height in Heels in person or order it on CD or vinyl today from Flannelgraph Records.
Written by Rob Peoni
Bloomington’s Sleeping Bag was one of our favorite new Hoosier projects in 2011. Their band generated a bit of buzz with their debut LP Slime. The album was deceptively energetic, balancing danceable rhythms with Dave Segedy’s understated, almost anhedonic delivery on vocals. This resulted in a release that seemed like one giant shrug, in the coolest fucking way possible. Yesterday, Sleeping Bag debuted a video for the track “Minus” produced by fellow BTown musician Chad Serhal (She Does Is Magic). Serhal is a talented visual artist (see: The Waste of Ink) and an avid movie junkie on top of being a damn fine musician. It’s interesting to watch as these artistic endeavors collide.
When I asked Serhal about his intentions for the project and the influence that Sleeping Bag’s music played in the video, he had this riveting detail to share, “I don’t know.” As is often the case with art, the viewer is left to interpret the piece however they see fit.
Sleeping Bag has a handful of tour dates across the East Coast slated for July. Check them out, live and in the flesh, at one of the spots listed below. If Twitter is an honest medium, then Sleeping Bag’s sophomore LP is in the can, and should see light of day soon via Joyful Noise Recordings. Keep your ears open for more details as they emerge.
7/18: Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog
7/19: Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto Project
7/20: Philadelphia, PA @ House Show tba
7/21: Brooklyn NY, @ Death By Audio w/ Shark
7/22: Shippensburg, PA @ The Thought Lot
7/23: Columbus, OH @ Cafe Bourbon St w/ Meadower
7/28: Carmel, IN @ The District Exchange
Written by Rob Peoni
Bloomington’s Chad Serhal has been churning out some consistently terrific material lately. He serves as frontman for She Does Is Magic, whose self-titled, debut EP wound up on my Top 5 of 2011 list. Yesterday, Serhal released an album of solo material entitled Golden. The 13 tracks were penned last year and recorded in a single week, kicking off 2012. The album begins with the voice of Edward Bloom from Tim Burton’s 2003 flick Big Fish, saying “And if I were to end up here, I’d feel lucky. But the truth is, I’m not ready to end up anywhere.”
The constrictive nature of a less than fulfilling hometown echoes in Serhal’s lyrics throughout the opening track “30.” The song’s voice speaks to the restlessness one feels with complacency, advising instead that the listener “Get out while the getting’s good.” A sentiment as old as rock n roll. Here, Serhal seems to be justifying his own dream of the aspiring musician as a life worth living, saying, “You have to keep moving / you can’t be confined to your neighborhood / And let the music take you places / you never thought you could.”
By the end of the track, Serhal ensures that he understands that the path he’s chosen will not be easy. To pull this off he returns to Edward Bloom. Now Bloom is being asked by a young child how he could possibly expect to make it without his shoes. Bloom’s reply: “Well, I suspect it will hurt – a lot.” Grab Golden for $5 from Bandcamp. Keep your ears open for She Does is Magic’s debut, full-length LP due to drop on Bloomington’s Flannelgraph Records later this year.
Written by Rob Peoni