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'Magnolia' revisits Molina's masterpiece

By Brian Krasman
Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

‘Magnolia Electric Co. 10 Year Anniversary Deluxe Edition'

Songs: Ohia (Secretly Canadian)

★★★★★

Earlier this year, the music world lost one of its greatest broken hearts when Jason Molina passed away. For a decade and a half, he delivered too-honest, emotionally brutal, doggedly determined music, and with the 10th anniversary here of Molina's greatest music achievement, “Magnolia Electric Co.” gets new life.

This was the final Songs: Ohia album that set the stage for the Magnolia Electric Co. period, and is it ever a barnstormer. This is where Molina drove completely into Midwestern rock, coming up with classic after classic including rollicking “Farewell Transmission,” volcanic “John Henry Split My Heart,” and the soul-gripping closer “Hang On, Magnolia.” The deluxe edition contains a second disc or record of demo cuts, all worth hearing, while the LP version has an additional 10-inch with two unreleased tracks, one an early take on “Whip Poor Will.” This is Molina's finest hour, and one of the great rock albums of this century.

‘Shulamith'

Polica (Mom+Pop)

★★★★

Minnesota synth pop band Polica slowly have been making a name for themselves, and their second record “Shulamith” should be the one that gets them over the top and swells their audience.

Channy Leaneagh is great as the band's focal point, as she sells these R&B-flavored cuts perfectly, and the band does a lot right on this record including murky, siren song “Smug”; the ominous and seductive “Very Cruel”; the lush, bursting first single “Trippin” (featuring Justin Vernon); and beat-heavy, fun “I Need $.” Strong record and a great late-year entry.

‘Surrender to Fantasy'

Magik Markers (Drag City)

★★★½

For more than a decade now, Connecticut noise rockers Magik Markers have been making confusing, agitated, but catchy music. On their new record “Surrender to Fantasy,” they're back to make your head spin.

There's a lot going on with these nine tracks, and you may find yourself going from fired up to annoyed to dizzy by the time it's all over. Elisa Ambrogio remains in command vocally, and she and the band do some weird stuff on melodic but pounding opener “Crebs”; the drunken folk of “Mirrorless”; the softer tones mixed with angst of “Youth”; and slurry, trippy “Screams of Birds and Girls.”

Brian Krasman is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

 

 
 


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