By the time Mrs. Magician plays the Belly Up, their Swami Records debut Strange Heaven will have been released digitally. My advance copy reveals a collection of radio-ready indie power-pop tunes, all of them likeable period pieces culled from the rich musical bone-yards of the late ’70s. In fact, I’m reminded of a local songwriter who frequented the Spirit Club (now Brick by Brick) and got one of his songs on KGB radio’s Homegrown collection in 1979. His name was CJ Hutton. We were roommates. He fronted a punkish band that majored in the Kinks/Dave Clark Five/Greg Kihn school of hit singles. That’s the same vibe I get from Mrs. Magician: fun songs written with the usual concerns in mind. “Sent my baby a letter/ Along with all her shit in a box/ That I saved if she decided to split.”
But I think Mrs. Magician departs from the pack of new bands that embody old stuff they discovered in used-record shops in this way: they are clever and lyrically smarter than their ’70s forebears. There’s a song on the new release called “True Blues,” for example, that explores the art of self-delusion and duplicity: “Every time I lie to myself, it’s true/ But I honestly can’t remember.” The creative brainchild of Jacob Turnbloom, Mrs. Magician includes Evan Ehrich, Tommy Garcia, and Cory Stier, culled from local outfits Blessure Grave, Drug Wars, and Weather Box. Turnbloom has been described as a guy who thinks ’60s rock but writes contemporary satire.
As for Hutton, I’ve no idea what became of him or his band. Last I heard, he’d submitted a demo to George Martin, the Beatles producer of years past.
Cults and Spectrals also perform.
MRS. MAGICIAN: Belly Up Tavern, Wednesday, March 21, 9 p.m. 858-481-8140. $16 advance, $18 day of show.