Tw0-and-a-half years ago when we first caught a whiff of Magic Man, the band was just a pair of college kids from starched-collar Northeastern universities jamming from their Macbooks. Today, the duo, formerly just elementary school buds Alex Caplow and Sam Lee, has grown to a quintet, fleshing out their sound and direction without losing any of the charm that made us fall in love with self-released debut, Real Life Color.
Magic Man as we know it now has relocated to (the musical mecca of?) Providence, Rhode Island and released new track “Paris” last week. When we last caught up, Caplow and Lee told us their debut LP was influenced by a trip to France. This time around, it looks like the pair are drawing from the same inspirations. Turning the City of Light into a metaphorical lover on “Paris”, Caplow develops an infectious hook that’s supplemented by synth blasts and a faded, but perfectly worked piano melody. Improving on production and recording quality since their last outing, Magic Man loses a bit of that novel DIY-quality felt on Real Life Color. But that’s not to say “Paris” is anything less genuine than older tracks like “Monster” and “Darling.” The energy and verve are still there, and keeping that in spite of change is a beautiful thing.
Summer-spirited songs always come with a layer of haze on them. In the case of Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s “Got to Let Go,” it’s a hot haze with a Hefe Instagram filter thrown on there and another filter on top just for the hell of it.
Gainsbourg always had the gamine charm that American singers covet, and she’s here to show it off. The ditty itself is slow, simple and cheekily off-tune, and each time it drags its feet with a hapy smile, Gainsbourg’s lilting French accent nudges it along. It’s something easy and grand out of an uncomplicated tune. She hands us two versions — one a pared-down take on the other — so there’s no excuse. Sit back, follow her advice and let go.
Charlotte Gainsbourg — Got to Let Go (feat. Charlie Fink of Noah and the Whale) (download)
Charlotte Gainsbourg — Got to Let Go (Live at Motorbass Studio feat. Connan Mockasin) (download)
Jamaica’s Antoine Hilaire would like to make one thing clear. His band is not signed to Ed Banger. Of course, it’s a natural assumption. A French band that collaborates with Justice’s Xavier de Rosnay has to carry some affiliation with the legendary electro label, right? Wrong.
Taking a cross-legged seat on a patch of grass on Saturday, a bundled up Hilaire spoke to us at Treasure Island Music Festival 2010 regarding misconceptions about French labels, his band’s dedication to their “no synth” policy and, of course, their new album, No Problem. Hilaire–even though he was missing his partner in crime, bassist Florent Lyonnet, to a back injury–was animated, discussing the band’s influence and the welcomed, but lofty, comparisons to other Parisian groups like Phoenix. He even gave our home base, Stanford University, a shout out. Vive La Jamaica.
Jamaica- I Think I Like U 2 (Breakbot Remix) (download)