My Week at MAGNET: A Round-Up

I’ve been striving to do a better job of synching the online content I’m contributing elsewhere with Slowblog, but heretofore it just hasn’t come together. In an effort to ameliorate this, and because Friday seems like an appropriate day to do a ‘round-up,’ below are truncated versions of a few MP3 and video reviews I’ve written for MAGNET over the last week, leaving out select posts on content I didn’t find particularly satisfying. Who needs a mediocre review on a beautiful day like today? 

Film at 11: Class Actress

Class Actress is an ’80s-inspired Brooklyn three-piece that reveres the best of that decade’s style and substance. Marrying sultry vocals to beats sampled from its members’ favorite new-wave records, the band manages to navigate a saturated genre without falling prey to myopic hipster whimsy, instead achieving real depth through Elizabeth Harper’s lovelorn, intimate tales. This duplicity plays out elegantly in the Patrick Cleandenim-directed video for “Journal Of Ardency,” as the provocative pull of Harper’s boudoir tease counters the search for a lover’s validation in the song’s lyrics. Though rife with fantasy, the result is satisfyingly realistic.” 

MP3 at 3PM: Eternal Summers

“With a nod to late-’70s British post-punk and American lo-fi, frontwoman Nicole Yun and drummer Daniel Cundiff successfully blend the timelessness of four-on-the-floor rhythm with modern wistfulness, creating a textured atmosphere on “Able To” not easily developed in a mere two minutes. The song is youthful without feeling contrived and intelligent without losing its sense of wonder—an appropriate opening salvo for a band whose name simultaneously infers longevity and blithe, carefree recess.”

Able To” (MP3)  

MP3 at 3PM: Club 8

Before recording their upcoming seventh LP, The People’s Record (Labrador), the veteran Swedes traveled to Brazil and listened to a plethora of ’70s-era West African records for inspiration, which undoubtedly informed the jangly, percussion-heavy aesthetic of “Western Hospitality.” Relinquishing production duties for the first time in their 15-year career, vocalist Karolina Komstedt and songwriter Johan Angergård brought in Jari Haapalainen (Concretes, Camera Obscura), marking a fresh, more dynamic era for the two-piece, whose previous output is more relaxed and melancholic. The result is a joyous, dance-laden sound that pays homage to its tropical source material without belying Club 8’s identity.”

Western Hospitality” (MP3)