Music Reviews

Magic Shoppe – Live In London – Is A Rocking Shoegaze Experience.

Magic Shoppe brings sustained tension with loud shoegaze and psychedelic rock that blasts across the live recording.The listener moves through sonic pools of reflection, dark underground rock, and hypnotic blistering tones. The guitars are frayed at the edges on the verge of losing control. Magic Shoppe’s ability to walk the tightrope between alternative rock songwriting and chaotic raw psychedelic shoegaze is a definitive feeling on Live in London.

Magic Shoppe Live In London was released on October 30th 2020 on Acid Test Recordings (UK / Europe) and Little Cloud Records (North America). Recorded live in London at The Lexington on Saturday February 22nd 2020 which was their last live concert before Covid-19. The vinyl package is limited edition with in two color options for the vinyl.

This is the first live album from Magic Shoppe and is a powerful reminder of how incredible their live performances are with raw energy. The set-list includes songs from four of the band’s albums giving a retrospective overview of their career. Their music has always been packed with intense energy and raw emotion. They create a wall of sound in the style of psychedelic shoegaze with alternative rock, 1980’s goth and 1990’s tonality.

Magic Shoppe of Boston, Massachusetts, are known for delighting in distortion and reverb. They take notes from My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, Loop and have a European psych shoegaze sound which flirts with industrial and new wave. The warm and fuzzy tonality can washout into soundscapes or crash into a maelstrom. They balance retro and futuristic music with thumping bass and jangling rhythms with dark vocal melodies.

“Gate To Hell (Live)” is the moody opener and features all the best elements heard on the recording with filtered screaming fuzz guitar, melancholic vocals riding on the strong forward momentum of the rhythm. The bass pumps and grinds along resonating off the venue walls.

Live in London captures all the energy of a live in-house concert. The sound quality is good for a live recording and it could not be mistaken for a studio recording. The bass hits hard and is muddy giving the recording an open live room nuance. The guitars cut through with chorus, reverb and dirt. The drums sit back in the mix and the vocals are forefront but feel distant with layers of echo and reverb.

The vocals are moody and awash in effects bringing a dark feeling to the album. The voice is tucked under sheets of compression and reverb making it seem lost and faraway as though someone was singing to you through a reflective filter. The vocals have a punk rock attitude but are never screaming. The tone of the voice is tinged with emotion and discontent. The ambiance created by the linger effects on the vocals swirls and resonates well beyond the end of the vocalized sound. This harmonic building up stays present in the background and adds to the wash of sound.

Magic Shoppe’s music feels distant, lonely, isolated and dreamy. The grinding psych riffs are best listened to at blasting loud volumes to piss off the neighbors. They sound like a band from the psychedelic rock movements of the 1990’s complete with melancholic attitude, broken fuzzy sounds, raw feedback and driven emotive songs. A timelessness pervades their album and without prior knowledge it is difficult to distinguish which decade the music is from. One thing is clear they are entrenched in the underground psych and shoegaze scene and have a unique contribution to the genre.

I am a part of the emerging psychedelic musical revolution and the wizard behind the curtain at I am lucky enough to be in contact with performers and labels around the world and discuss music that is weird, transcendent, creative and psychedelic. It’s no surprise that I live in San Francisco, California where the psychedelic revolution was born. I am a multi-instrumentalist musician, songwriter, digital and visual artist in the bands Temple Rose and Black Satori. I have written about music for the, GigSoup Music, Sic Magazine and professional corporate copy writing. Discovering new music from artists large and small gives me a special thrill and I feel compelled to share the excitement. My journey began when I started attending coffeehouse concerts at 14 years old, seeing acoustic and hardcore metal bands. I soon started making music of my own. A pivotal moment was when I picked up my first record player and started collecting vinyl records from the 1960s and early 1970s in acid folk, garage rock, psychedelic and krautrock genres. The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Black Sabbath laid a firm foundation. Then I discovered CAN, Ash Ra Tempel, Tangerine Dream, and Pink Floyd which blew convention out of the water and my musical horizon extended into the experimental and abstract. Today there are thousands of bands which have taken the legacy of psychedelic music and created something new. I seek out these bands and performers, spreading their latest revelations to the world. Some of my favorite contemporary artists are The Black Angels, Oh Sees, Woods, Acid Mothers Temple, Kikagaku Moyo and L.A. Witch.