Sunday, December 11, 2016

Vinyl Review: "Magician" by Vaudevileins

It may have escaped your notice that we have entered the holiday season. Our day today involved a fair few errands.

My personal favorite one was adding to our Christmas music vinyl collection. My daughter and I went to St. Vincent De Paul Thriftshop on South Kingshighway in beautiful Southtown St. Louis in order to bolster our collection on a budget.

Hey, fifty cents an LP can't be beat.

The seeds to my personal vinyl awakening were actually sewn about two years ago while we were decorating the tree in my in-laws' house and listening to the LPs my mother in law has had since she was a young adult.

We put to test what MC Chris said...we jumped so high that the records did indeed skip. Listening to those 40 year old records changed something in my soul. They sounded great. As they were well worn, well cared for, and well kept, there was no scratchiness, no skipping, etc.

I didn't realize it, but my world was changing.

Moving back to today, the whole time we were choosing what records we were going to go home with, my mind kept moving back to the LP sitting on my platter from Chicago's own Vaudevillians.

The night previous, I'd done the unboxing video.

They're an indie band (how strange in 2016 right?) that's been kicking around a little awhile. Magician is their second full length album and their first release on vinyl.

They're self described as incorporating prog, power pop, and muscular indie rock and this whole package comes out of four gents: Jeff Julian (vocals/guitar), Brenn Chouinard (drums/vocals), Bill Aldridge (bass), and they're joined by Evan Mohler on lead guitar.

These types of descriptions are always slightly ambitious, if you don't mind my saying so. In this case, it's 100% accurate.

They're progressive without being pretentious. There's some seriously powerful riffing in parts, coupled with some tasty garage rock melody licks. Those melody lines are buttressed in part by some glorious guitar solos that never overplay and just sprinkle even more deliciousness around.

On first listen, the vocals had that nasally push of pop punk and modern rock. As the album wore on, one of two things happened, and it's still unclear which. Either the vocals changed, or hearing them in their native habitat just made them better to my ear.

Halfway through side 2, I wouldn't have changed a single thing about them.

Musically speaking, the MVP of this record is Aldridge on bass. His bass is the utter backbone of this band rhythmically and sonically. The guitars follow him. His sound is big and full.

Even though the bass is the stock for the soup, this album would be severely weakened if any of the other parts were missing. That's the thing about this album, everything fits.

Gorgeous stereo production, perfect sound, clean guitars on top of dirty guitars, thundering bass guitar, ambitious songwriting, and powerful playing making this record perfect from start to finish. There are absolutely zero stinkers on this album.

Read that again.

No filler, no misses, all pure gold.

This record is pressed on 140 gram black vinyl. It's quite sturdy and sounds spectacular. If I'm careless, I'm going to wander back into the production of this record because Indie Bands aren't really allowed to release albums that sound this great.

If I didn't know better, which I don't, it would be hard to think that the analog chain is missing here.

My copy came signed by all four members of the band and listed as 9/25. Also included was a bandcamp download code, and simply a sleeve. It was like an old school CD inlay card. The disc sits in an inner sleeve behind the front and back cover.

Whether or not you pick this up on vinyl, pick it up. Magician is one of the best rock records of 2016.

Release: 11/18/16
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: DIY
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
LE: Unknown (Hopefully I'll get updated.)

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