I know it’s October, but there is still time for one last summer jam, right? Venice, CA’s Cayucas is the latest signee to Bloomington label Secretly Canadian. The project is the brainchild of frontman Zach Yudin. Today the band debuted their video for single “Cayucos” which can be viewed below. Producer Richard Swift worked with the band on their 7″, due to drop next week (pre-order). The addictive new single reinforces my belief that Swift is King Midas. Cayucas’ full length debut is due to drop sometime next spring. Whether the leaves are beginning to turn in your neck of the woods or not, this track is guaranteed to have you reaching for your flip flops and beach towel.
A Different Ship begins with a building confluence of polyrhythms, found sound, and tense atmosphere. Here We Go Magic calls the listener to attention before releasing into a fluttering, acoustic-driven bounce. With that, the listener is off on a road trip with one of the year’s best albums. Along the journey, Brooklyn-based Here We Go Magic charts a course that is both cohesive and explorative. The band offers listeners a complete range of emotion in a release that avoids redundancy while maintaining its identity.
Here We Go Magic magnificently embraces influences without becoming defined by them, flirting for a while before moving on to the next. “Make Up Your Mind” is a dead ringer for Phish’s “Back on the Train” with the country blues twang pulled from the guitar lick. Elsewhere, “How Do I Know” instrumentally and energetically mirrors The Feelies 2005 single “Let Go.” On the title track and “Over the Ocean”, I’m reminded of Sting when I hear lead singer Luke Temple. I am typically reluctant to make these types of comparisons between artists. They aren’t meant to reduce Here We Go Magic’s work to mimicry. Rather, my hope is to illustrate that this release has put their work in the conversation with some noteworthy artists, not simply contemporaries.
Longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich produced A Different Ship. He did an excellent job of remaining in the background on this release. Flourishes of textures and atmosphere add richness without distracting from the main attraction. If Godrich’s presence can be felt, it’s in the seriousness and focus that Here We Go Magic appears to have brought to the release. A Different Ship coheres in a way that underscores the band’s significant growth since the release of Pigeons in 2010.
Here We Go Magic transitions nicely throughout this album, sounding contemplative one moment and danceable the next, without ever feeling lost or misguided. New York Times critic Jon Pareles wrote that, “Here We Go Magic loves the way a pattern promises the stability and control that Mr. Temple’s lyrics are never sure of.” This proves an accurate assessment. The songs are so tightly constructed that they allow Temple to write more abstractly.
The casual confidence that Here We Go Magic displays on A Different Ship may be the album’s greatest strength. Like all of the best bands, they make their art look effortless. Of course, it would be easy to exude confidence with Godrich in your corner. A Different Ship is another example of preparation and talent leading to genuine innovation. Pick up your copy of the release from Secretly Canadian.
Written by Rob Peoni
I have been closely tapped into the buzz surrounding Bloomington’s Secretly Canadian artist Nite Jewel. It did not matter which blog I read, I could not escape the build up to the release of One Second of Love. While Nite Jewel was new to me, the strength of the release was reaffirmed in too many different locations to ignore. Nite Jewel has spent the last four years on an EP release cycle since her 2008 LP Good Evening. By giving her fans just enough since her first full release, she has found a way to engage and grow her following.
Romona Gonzalez is the comforting voice behind the Nite Jewel project. Created in Los Angeles, Gonzalez has found a unique way to attract and maintain relevancy in the one and done independent music scene. Nite Jewel followed Good Evening by releasing three separate EP’s: Want You Back, You F O, and Am I Real. Leaning on extended plays, Nite Jewel, has countered obscurity by constantly satisfying listeners’ short attention spans. This style has been leveraged by artists such as Toro y Moi and is beginning to provide some statistical data to back up the approach. The fact that One Second of Love was released from a local label should make local readers proud. Left coast bred and Bloomington fed, the attention surrounding Nite Jewel has helped give our local scene some more deserved national buzz.
While listening to One Second of Love I begin to identify many important moments that carry me from track to track. Synths help support Gonzalez’s deep melodies throughout the entire record. Many moods appear while listening. Some sound happy like Class Actress and others sound dark like Bat for Lashes. The dichotomy of sound and provides a comforting contrast. Coming across more eager than anxious, Nite Jewel displays a subtle confidence that earns my attention.
Title track, “One Second of Love” pops off with a catchy HQ rhythm and funky synth line. It’s simple, soothing, and now I’m sold. As the chorus repeats, the listener is able to identify Nite Jewel’s ability to transition quickly between ranges. With many artists, such transitions can wind up sloppy and distracting. However, with Nite Jewel pulls makes the switch seamlessly, each and every time.
“One Second of Love”
“Autograph” serves as the darling of this record for me. Gonzalez showcases her versatility, dropping a 90s pop, female R&B vibe. She smoothly states that “I still got your autograph, it is on my heart”. This line could have been ripped out of the Zhane discography and I would not have noticed any difference. As Nite Jewel strikes my sweet spot, I begin to think that Secretly Canadian must be proud to have her autograph inked to their hearts.
Nite Jewel’s massive vocal range mixed with contrasting melodies makes this project worth a listen. I am excited to see what happens after this record marinates in listeners minds. My guess is that it will continue to garner attention, leaving listeners anticipating Gonzalez’s next move. I recommend that you sit back and relax with this one for a while.
Written by Brett McGrath