Co-produced at Native Sound Recording with David Beeman (Pokey Lafarge, Tristen) and mixed by David Vandervelde (Father John Misty), the new single from Summer Magic, “Hey!” is dripping in sweet, golden sunshine melodies full of infectious hooks and harmonies.
For two years, Kevin Bachmann had been steadfastly working on an album for “his baby,” Summer Magic. In the project, the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist teamed up with the additional songwriting and playing contributions of Benjamin Marsh. Their collective effort is being released shortly, in the form of an eight-song album, Sharks and Other Dangers, which will soon be available on 12-inch vinyl, with digital options to follow.
Working completely independent of any label or management, Bachmann chose to work on the album with his friend and collaborator David Beeman, who recorded the songs at Beeman’s own Native Sound Recording in South St. Louis. Due to Beeman’s frequent touring work with Father John Misty, there were times when “he’d be gone for up to six months,” Bachmann recalls. “But I like working with him so much that I’d wait to record during the times he was gone.”
From 2008-12, Bachmann was a member of the well-regarded St. Louis shoegaze band Troubadour Dali, in which he worked previously with Marsh. Some of the tracks on “Sharks” date back to the end of their time with that project.
"Overall, some of the songs were written around the time I left Troubadour, while the other half were written more recently,” Bachmann says. “Most of the songs are related to me, to specific relationships or events in my life. Benjamin’s contributions, lyrically, can be more abstract, more imagery-based. I like the blend of how he and I write. That blend is really interesting and works in a strong way. Overall, I think the sound of the music unifies our styles pretty well.”
Expanding on possibilities of these songs live, the current stage version of Summer Magic includes a half-dozen players: Bachmann (vocals, guitar); Marsh (vocals, guitar); Mike Schurk (drums); Natalie Huggins (keys/synth/guitar/vocals); Andy Kahn (bass); and Danny Mayo (guitar). Most of the record was completed before the live band was assembled, though Schurk and Kahn make appearances on it.
Together, the sextet create, according to Bachmann, “a good combination of upbeat, jangly tunes and some darker ones, as well. "I feel as if some of the more upbeat, poppier tunes have darker lyrics underneath them, which was not something I intentionally set out to do.” The result, overall, is a sound somewhere between Elliott Smith and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
What was intended was a short-and-sweet collection of eight tracks for “Sharks,” “which,” Bachmann says, “I purposefully wanted to do. What’s left is tons and tons of other stuff. There’s easily enough music, ready to demo, for at least two more albums’ worth of material.”
With time, those cuts will follow their predecessors into the world. For the remainder of 2018, though, Bachmann and Company are looking to make sure that their studio wizardry finds listeners, whether on vinyl or live/onstage.
"I'm extremely excited to finally get to share this music with everyone and am beyond enthused to see what lies ahead, both individually and collaboratively, as we move forward,” Bachmann says. “Summer Magic means the world to me and I hope it's something that others' make a connection with, as well."
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If It's Too Loud...
"It has that sugary, upbeat feel of something like The Archies, but also the sound of early Fountains of Wayne without the snark." [7/17/18]
"The glowing melody is saccharin, ripe, and ready to eat. Drenched in bright harmonies, its fuzzy guitar riffs and aqueous shimmer are poolside summer-ready." [7/13/18]
Nathan Lankford, Austin Town Hall
"So this song snuck into my head and it won’t leave. There’s something nostalgic that it brings up, especially when the vocals change slightly during the chorus…feels familiar like great pop songs do." [7/10/18]
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