Magic Castles unveil a self-titled batch of mystical tunes at Kitty Cat Klub

Categories: Concert Preview
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Photo by Zane Sprang
Local psych-folk act Magic Castles' mystical music now has the golden chance to expand its reach. A self-titled, double-vinyl album was recently released via Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe's own A Records imprint.

On Saturday, they celebrate with an album release party at the Kitty Cat Klub, and later this summer, the band joins Newcombe's group for an East Coast tour.

Magic Castles' hazy instrumentation is a layered tapestry of multiple guitar tracks and bright vocal harmonies. It can manifest itself in the Beach Boys-esque "Big Sur," or stretch out to soundscapes rife with dark lyrical matter involving creatures "conjured from the lands of the mushroomed mind" on songs such as the seven-minute "Ballad of the Golden Bird." After hearing the latter song, Newcombe contacted lead vocalist/guitarist Jason Edmonds in the fall of 2010.



"Talking with Anton was a surprise, " says Edmonds, whose first Brian Jonestown Massacre purchase was Give it Back! in 1997. "He was like, 'Hey, let's make records!' I was excited that he was excited about it. It wasn't anything I'd ever tried to seek out. I've never shopped anything anywhere."

Although many know his label boss from an antagonistic role in the 2004 Brian Jonestown Massacre/Dandy Warhols documentary Dig!, Edmonds insists that he knows a different side of the man. "Once that movie came out, we were able to read between the lines of the slanderous bullshit," he says. "There's a lot more to Anton than that movie portrays. He's not an asshole, he's brilliant. He got a bad stint from that movie -- people think he's psychotic and crazy, but he's not."

Citing other mid-'90s influences like Spacemen 3, Galaxie 500, Spiritualized, and Stereolab, Edmonds formed Magic Castles from the ashes of a primarily instrumental outfit called Nymore in 2006. A rotating cast of players and friends have since joined along the Magic Castles' six-year journey, and their output includes 2008's Lore of Mysticore and 2009's Dreams of Dreams of Dreams, as well as a cassette called Songs of the Forest.

In all, you can hear an obsession with heavy reverb and layered vocals that sound like they came from another planet. "There was a lot of power pop," Edmonds says of the Minneapolis scene of the time. "A few people were doing '70s power-rock. There wasn't much trippier, softer shit on the radio. I wanted to make the music I wanted to hear, to fill that gap."

Magic Castles play an album release show on Saturday, April 14, at Kitty Cat Klub; 612.331.9800


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