06 February 2008

Band of the Week: Magic Arm

Any market research or cool-hunting firm worth their salt would do well to wrangle Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste into their focus groups. The man's got taste, he's got opinions, and most importantly, people follow his tastes and listen to his opinions. Long a champion of emerging artists - as well as those already emerged if we're to think back to the EF interview where he declared his love for Rihanna - Droste has often used the Grizzly Bear blog to help disseminate great new music (and for once we're not talking about the Smash Mouth track he posted).

So it went late last March in an innocuous post titled "Two Things I Love". The first "thing" in question was his dog; the second was the song "Outdoor Games" by a somewhat unknown UK band named Magic Arm. Who are Magic Arm?

Who IS Magic Arm would probably be more accurate. The alias of Manchester-based Marc Rigelsford, Magic Arm creates music that is alternately playful and somber, organic and electronic, dressed-down and intricately layered, but always in service of a well-constructed pop gem...

Following Droste's endorsement, Said The Gramophone and I Guess I'm Floating (among others) also wrote glowing reviews of "Outdoor Games". Around the same time, Magic Arm's debut EP - the aptly titled Outdoor Games EP - dropped in the UK on Switchflicker Records (also home to The Ting Tings). Well, EAR FARM figured it was high time for us to officially announce our endorsement - whoa, delayed Super Tuesday talk? - of Magic Arm as well.

"But the EP was released way back in June," you may be thinking to yourself in silent horror. "That's an eternity in blog years!"

Yes, and the timing couldn't be any better. As it turns out, Rigelsford is set to pack up his laptop and assorted toys for a trip to Austin during South By Southwest for a very rare performance on US soil. And after repeated listens to the Outdoor Games EP, it's becoming increasingly evident that Magic Arm has a lot more tricks up his sleeve (terrible pun alert) than is let on by the plaintive strum of the lauded title track.

While "Outdoor Games" is certainly a gorgeous song, it only hints at a portion of the sonic ground covered by Rigelsford. Recorded entirely on his home computer, tracks such as "Move Out" juxtapose warbling Eastern-tinged synth lines with delicate harmonies and a barely-there rattling bass line that could have come from a 4-track studio session with Timbaland. Elsewhere, "People Need Order" neatly incorporates the kitchen-sink mentality of Odelay-era Beck into a chugging bedroom anthem. It's a rare accomplishment for a 7-song EP to flirt with so many different genres and vibes while still maintaining a sense of coherence and focus in the way that Outdoor Games manages to do.

Now, if you'll excuse us we're going to head back to Ed's blog to listen to Daniel Rossen cover JoJo. You'd be well advised to head HERE and pick up a copy of the Outdoor Games EP for yourself.

Listen:
"People Need Order"
"Outdoor Games"

Visit Magic Arm on MySpace

See Magic Arm Live:
16 February - Coimbra, Portugal @ Teatro Academico Gil Vincente
26 February - Sheffield, UK @ The Raynor Lounge
12 March - Austin, TX @ SXSW
30 May - Liverpool, UK @ The Bluecoat
--
In the recent past, the following bands have been featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week:
Drink Up Buttercup
The Big Sleep
Pete and the Pirates
Dead Confederate
Throw Me The Statue
Screaming Tea Party
Graveyard
Helvetia

See the entire list of bands featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week HERE.

6 comments:

kpup said...

kitty!

Taylor said...

omg I can't believe someone beat me to saying KITTY

Anonymous said...

it's like, A) i can see why grizzly bear types would like this band and B) these two songs posted here are AMAZING.

i think that, if there were any justice in this world, the first song is what the music of children of the beatles would sound like.

another great find

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