What’s that? You need to eat more Wheaties? No, you need to listen to more Magic Trick. And, what better way to kick off your week then getting two new songs from Tim Cohen’s other project (he’s also in some band called Fresh and Onlys). I’ve written a bunch about his work in the past, and so I don’t really need to tell you much more than that I love listening to him, especially as he’s grown as a songwriter. Below you’ll find two new songs from his forthcoming Other Man’s Blues, which comes out via Empty Cellar Records on August 26th.
I feel like the Fresh and Onlys are one of the most vital bands around today, hyperbolically speaking. First, the band’s great, consistent and still grows with each release. Second, the members such as Wymond Miles are great songwriters on their own…and now we have new Magic Trick, the long-time project of Tim Cohen. His latest LP is informed by his move to the Arizona desert and travels on the road, but it still wears the influences you’ve heard on his previous releases. The female backing vocals add this really haunting touch to the track, placing you in the world Cohen has envisioned. His new record, Other Man’s Blues, will be released by Empty Cellar Records on August 26th.
As reported last week, there’s a new album from Magic Trick, the side-project (of many) by Tim Cohen of Fresh and Onlys. Based off this tune, and the one we ran last week, he’s slowing things down, as usual with this project. The guitar is pretty nice, with this Southern twang/slide working throughout, while the rolling drum emphasizes a journey one must take. Adding a female touch in the vocal section definitely adds an extra layer of majesty to the project. River of Souls will be out on Decemeber 3rd via Empty Cellar Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Magic-Trick-Crazy-Teeth.mp3]
Download: Magic Trick – Crazy Teeth [MP3]
I hate to be that guy, but I am that guy. I love pretty much anything and everything that Tim Cohen touches. His work with Magic Trick seems to have taken an even softer approach today, with his latest single hitting the streets. It’s a gentler man than his other gig, which is why we I love getting to see the two sides of Mr. Cohen; it’s great to see that our favorite songwriters have other outlets and are pushing themselves. His new effort, River of Souls, looks to be wrapping up the year nicely, seeing a release date of December 3rd on Empty Cellar Records.
Here it is. I know you’ll hate it; I know you’ll disagree, but that’s not the point in making an arbitrary list. We here at ATH worked really hard to fit in the tastes of the four of us, and when we decided upon our Top 50, it really boied down to simple math. What albums did we love when they came out? Do we still enjoy spinning those records months later? If they’re in the Top 50, then the asnwer is probably yes. I mean, our Top 2 records came out in January, and still play a vital part in my weekly listening. There’s no disclaimer here. We are who we are, we like what we like, and we hope that’s okay with you. If not, drop us a line and let us know where we went wrong.
You never really know what you’re going to get with a Tim Cohen listening experience; he’s a man of many faces, wearing various hats in Fresh and Onlys, Tim Cohen and now Magic Trick. After the first few listens to Ruler of the Night (Hardly Art), you can clearly see that he’s put aside that psych-pop hat, just for a moment, crafting something truly remarkable that won’t leave your record player for days or even weeks.
If “Ruler of the Night” is going to be your starting point, it’s the place that first establishes a different approach for Cohen and Magic Trick, now that the band has been solidified. You’ll find lightly strummed guitar and an extremely warm backing vocal; the careful construction of the song demonstrates how far Tim is willing to go on this outing. Immediately following is “Torture,” which just might have the longevity to be one of my tracks of the year. You can see the lineage of this track, and possible connection, to Fresh and Onlys, but the melodic harmonies backing your frontman here see him pushing that sound; he even takes a stab at a soaring vocal himself, to much success.
Ruler of the Night will probably be remembered most for the variance in songwriting that Magic Trick utilizes on the effort. “Sunny” sounds like a San Francisco group taking a stab at writing a Magnetic Fields song, but perhaps that’s just the guitar sound, or the backing vocals. The mood of the song resonates with the title, but it’s juxtaposition to the dark ballad “Next to Nothing” gives you reason to make sure your listening experience revolves around the completed record. While similarities exist overall, each song creates its own bit of character, all dependent upon the accompaniment of the rest of the group.
“Same People” seemingly has its roots in Tim’s fascination with hip-hop, and it plays like a bit of electronic constructionism. Cohen’s vocals barely seem to rest atop of the beats, but it fits in with the mood of the album, especially when the tone is lightened during the chorus. It’s a similar track to the appearance of sampled beats early with “Invisible at Midnight.” The construction of the song definitely revolves around the electronic elements, but like the previously mentioned track, there’s an explosion of brightness that comes with the chorus. Such delicate touches to the construction of each track demonstrate how careful the group has been in finishing off their compositions.
If anything, Ruler of the Night seems to be a statement for Tim Cohen. While Magic Trick might be a side-project, it’s definitely one that forces everyone to take notice of the songwriter as more than just a purveyor of psych-pop. He’s got a solidified group working with him in Magic Trick now, and together they’ve crafted a welcoming album that reveals more to your ear and heart with each careful listen.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/MagicTrick_Torture.mp3]
Download:Magic Trick – Torture [MP3]
Tim Cohen‘s newest track has been floating around for a few weeks now, but it was just made available to us, so I’ve got to fawn over Magic Trick some more. His newest LP, Ruler of the Night will be out on Hardly Art this week, and I suggest you pick it up if you know what’s good for you. Of course, if you’re familiar with Tim’s work in Fresh and Onlys, the slow progression of the guitar and Cohen’s vocals will certainly be surprising. There’s an abundance of creativity, however, in the song’s final construction, which is one of the things that’s made listening to Magic Trick so enjoyable. Dig in folks.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Magic_Trick_-_Invisible_at_Midnight.mp3]
Download:Magic Trick – Invisible at Midnight [MP3]
You all should know Tim Cohen as the lead in Fresh and Onlys, and hopefully some of you’ve heard his solo work as either Tim Cohen or Magic Trick. This time around, he’s teamed up with some friends (members of Aisler’s Set and Kelly Stoltz band) to flesh out the line-up for Magic Trick; the group will release Ruler of the Night via Hardly Art on June 12th. I love how you can always hear bits of Cohen’s other work slip into this sort of thing, but this effort definitely sounds like it’s being give a really mellow treatment. Even so, it’s clear that Cohen’s always a captivating as a composer, so this is no surprise I’m loving this track.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/MagicTrick_Torture.mp3]
Downlaod: Magic Trick – Torture [MP3]
If you’ve been reading these pages for some time, then you undoubtedly are aware of my man love for Tim Cohen. While he gets more press for his role in Fresh & Onlys, he’s definitely got other great things going on, such as his Magic Trick project. He just released a song from The Glad Birth of Love, which will see a full release on August 23rd. While there are hints of psych folk, that seems to live primarily in the trickling sound of the guitar in the background. The rest of the 7 minute song comes off like a crooner of sorts, but one completed in the realm of carefully orchestrated opuses. With patience, you’ll grow to love and appreciated Tim’s songwriting, as it continues to grow and amaze me.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/TimCohen-DaylightMoon.mp3]
Download: Tim Cohen – Daylight Moon [MP3]
For most listeners, you’re probably expecting anything coming from Tim Cohen to somewhat resemble his haunting vocal performances from his main gig, The Fresh & Onlys. But, while that dark tinted vocal is still there, Tim’s been creating music on his own for some time, this being his second solo release in about a year (making that 3 in a year, all work included). Magic Trick establishes itself as his most timeless release to date, making Cohen a hot commodity in the small indie rock community.
“I Am Never Going to Die” sounds precisely like something your father might have listened to if he grew up in the late 60s. It was probably a track played by his roommate while they sat in some bong circle, promising one another that they were going to make themselves happy. Yet you won’t have to travel back in time to enjoy this piece, nor do you necessarily have to partake in recreational drugs; Tim’s music, as well as the themes throughout Magic Trick, apply just as much now as they did then.
The haunting vision of Tim Cohen that I have in my head revolves around those vocals, teetering on the edge of despair, such as you get on a song like “The Flower.” Still, even with his songs having this shady quality, a track like this reminds you of dark crooners such as Richard Hawley, giving you dense pop songs in a simply beautiful format. Similarly, “Ledgerdemain” operates in the same spectrum, using a heavy vocal to discuss themes of love as seen through one man’s perspective. The light piano touches and floating female vocal accompaniment definitely bring an extra punch to this number.
But, perhaps the most notable style present on Magic Trick are the allusions to the psychedelia of years past, only viewed through a more modern lens. It’s hard to go through listening to a track like “The Spirit’s Inside” without noticing the cascading guitars that go with the moody electronic piano. Not only that, but it hints back at those low-budget movies during the black-and-white era where your hero has a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve. “Season of Fires” definitely has some California vibe to it, almost as if it’s the long lost Doors demo, except a tad bit better, as Cohen’s a better poet in my mind.
One of the remarkable things about listening to Magic Trick in its entirety is that you want to put some many songs in certain generic boxes, pushing influences onto the Tim Cohen, but where he seems to have progressed greatly on this album are the darker pop tracks, like those mentioned above or the album closer, “I Looked Up.” Such touches of songwriting demonstrate that he’s more than just a one-trick pony. While it may seem that Cohen’s been around for quite some time, this record is the first one that really shows he’s heading in the right direction, even if we didn’t see them coming right away. Tim Cohen might be a man who loves the past, but he’s certainly the man of the moment.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Tim-Cohen-Dont-Give-Up.mp3]
Download: Tim Cohen – Don’t Give Up [MP3]