Band of the Week: Magik Markers
Writer: Andrew Earles
Department, Published online on 24 Sep 2007
Absolutely no one spells their name right.
Why They're Worth Watching:
Their live show keeps getting better and louder, and will continue to do so, what with the duo's impending two-guitarist expansion.
For Fans Of:
The Dead C, early Sonic Youth, Bardo Pond
The rather useless term “noise-pop” is frequently attached to bands that are deficient in one or both of those areas
. Magik Markers can bring the noise. They can rock an extended jam that veers outside of structure or melody. They are good at these things, but truthfully, who isn’t? There is a very thin line between tomfoolery and talent in the noise scene — any group of chumps with a table of pedals can be the next Wolf Eyes. But though the Magik Markers attract a noisenik following, they are a pop band at heart, and a very catchy one at that. Their most accomplished full-length to date, Boss
, hits the streets tomorrow (Sept. 25) via the appropriate home of Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace.
“I mean, I’m friends with a lot of people in the noise scene, but we obviously don’t have much in common with a power electronics or the ‘new weird America’ band," says drummer Pete Nolan, who along with guitarist Elisa Ambrogio, formed the Magik Markers in 2002. "Some of that is just kids and their idea of what’s cool. Plus, we made a conscious effort to make an album of fully realized songs.” That album, Boss
, is the Brooklyn-based band's third proper release (along with some CD-R’s).
If this new Magik Markers record resembles early Sonic Youth, (particularly 1985's Bad Moon Rising
), it’s probably by accident. “I’m not all that familiar with early Sonic Youth, and the constant comparisons in print can be a bummer,” Nolan says. Ambrogio’s vocals and phrasing do recall a more tuneful Kim Gordon, but the savvy listener will detect another landmark experimental band. “I was more into the Xpressway label and the Dead C, especially as I was finishing high school,” Nolan says. “And I’ve currently been into a lot of older singer songwriter stuff, like Townes Van Zandt.”
In order to do justice to the new album, the Magik Markers have increased their live lineup to four members. Conversely, Boss
is the focus. “Before, we were all about playing live, and recording was secondary," Nolan explains. "This time, I wanted to make an album that I’d
want to listen to over and over again.” With this renewed sense of energy and purpose, the band will traverse the States this fall. These shows are not to be missed, namely because the Magik Markers are exactly what rock needs: something more challenging and miles away from the pedestrian pretentiousness and brainless rehashing of many modern-day groups