[dropcap]L[/dropcap]os Angeles Duo Magic Wands are back, conjuring a fantastic new release in their second album Jupiter. This release is dramatically different than their debut LP Aloha Moon. Almost as much as the sound of The Horror’s Primary Colours is a departure from their debut Strange House (Though I doubt there is any connection, besides opening for The Horrors).
After listening to the album on repeat half a dozen times, and marveling at the album artwork that was part Trapper Keeper, part 70’s Sci Fi Poster, and part psychedelic van mural, I dropped Dexy Valentine a line to ask him about Jupiter, and if there was any conscious decision to shift direction in sound…
Dexy: We decided to not use electronic backing tracks for this album and keep it more spontaneous and experimental and have live players on stage actually playing their instruments. Aloha Moon was a one off thing for us being we’d both always played in rock n roll bands and wanted to try something different with the pre-programming, loops etc.. Jupiter is us going back to doing what we’ve always done best.
What you were doing the last few years between albums, touring and how that may have affected the music. Also, how did you put together that fantastic new rhythm section?
Dexy: The rhythm section on Jupiter are great, they are our friends session drummer, Charlie Woodburn on drums and Vega Schenk on bass. Presently, they are both working on other music projects so we have new bandmates, Tommy Alexander on Bass and Keith Crutchfield on drums.
While waiting for Jupiter to be mixed I put back together the band I had before Magic Wands called Bonfire Beach. We signed to Cleopatra Records & released an album and toured the US with The Dandy Warhols. At that time Chris was traveling & studying ancient sound healing &open his own shop. The last song on Jupiter is his experiment with that.
I feel like I am listening to a record whose elements are produced a decade apart the guitar on Himalaya sounds like something either Bernard Butler from Suede, or Andy Bell from Ride could have come up with, but the bass is very Steven Severin from Siouxsie and The Banshees circa Juju or Simon Gallup from The Cure ala Seventeen Seconds. Am I just seeing figures in the clouds? These combinations of early 80’s and early 90’s sounds make me think you two belong in the lineup of the first couple of Lollapaloozas.
Dexy: There is a thread of 80’s and 90’s going through most of the songs on Jupiter & that’s something that has always been present in
anything I or we do musically, we love those bands.
Did you see Ride on tour nnd/or are you excited about Lush? I don’t mean to suggest Magic Wands is a Shoegaze band, I think the reason that may be is that creatively I think guys are tapping into some of the original energies from the 60’s and 70’s, and that is where the Post-Punk, and Shoegaze connections come from.
Dexy: I missed RIDE but I did see Slowdive and MBV recently, we’ll be on tour when Lush plays LA Spooky and Gala are my favorite albums by them.
And finally, I must say Lazerbitch, is an really fantastic track, and structurally it is reminiscent of earlier songs, like Black Magic. This song belongs on a motion picture soundtrack!
Dexy: Thanks, yes.. It’s like Black Magic on acid, when we were recording I was thinking it would work well in a sci-fi film.
Magic Wands – Jupiter tracklist
03:41 Love Soldier
19:18 Dream Street
27:53 Blue Wall
31:50 I’ll Never Go There Again
35:05 (dreamin’ like a) Heartbeat
40:01 Jupiter II