Drown in the River of Souls on Magic Trick’s new album

River of Souls is the third enchantment from the hat of Tim Cohen (The Fresh and Onlys) and his band, Magic Trick. Picking up from where he left us with Ruler of the Night (Hardly Art), Cohen brings us ten new intimate tracks, polished as yet unseen. Recorded in The Tree House, his attic studio, River of Souls whirls with parables of change amidst emotional flotsam and jetsam. Insecurities, sarcasm, escapism, optimism, vanity, honesty, and bona fide love… it is all there, but in comforting form. Tim’s well-skewed pop songs remind us that things can always be better, but also that what we have is pretty amazing.

River of Souls signals a new approach for Magic Trick. As in The Fresh and Onlys, Tim has begun to distinguish his muses from those of the foggy San Francisco lo-fi movement that he helped to shape. Mixed at Lucky Cat Studios with Phil Manley and mastered by Paul Oldham, this album exudes presence and confidence. Now, more than ever, the vocals break through the clouds, and the mix champions the artistry in each player’s performance. Tim’s baritone spars with angelic female chants (Noelle Cahill and Alicia Vanden Heuvel) over the crisp unmistakable pulse of James Kim‘s drums, and the melodic drive of Alicia’s bass throughout. San Francisco’s gifted guitar workhorse, Tom Heyman, channels Mark Knopfler; one-man metal mystery, Steve Peacock, brings the right kind of shred; and Marc Cappelle’s horns retort the melodies, as Tim jettisons his woes upriver. It is clear with each downbeat the band has honed its language and tempered its chemistry.

Change permeates this record, but Tim Cohen diehards need not fear. The songs on this album are classic Tim Cohen jams through and through. Still present are the first-thought-best-thought off-the-cuff style and the genre-spanning I-can’t-quite-pinpoint-who-this-reminds-me-of assimilation of influences. Still here are the heartbreaking nonsense and the litany of brilliant guest appearances. River of Souls begins with an invitation to “Come Inside”. The songs stick with you from that point forward, and what’s more… the record ends before you are ready to leave the party. Altogether, this album makes it clear that there is not a man more worthy of thee Muses than Tim Cohen.

Keeping with tradition, the LP version on half-red/half-blue vinyl is presented in a classic tip-on sleeve featuring artwork by Kevin Earl Taylor.  Get yours HERE!


New EP by Pat Thomas (of Cool Ghouls), Coasters Riding In The Air

Pat Thomas Album Art

Introducing one quarter of San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls, Pat Thomas! He’s the tall lanky dude who plays the bass. He also writes one third of the Ghouls’ songs.

The Cool Ghouls have made a name for themselves. Their soulful tunes and energetic live set have earned the band back-to-back slots with toast of the coast acts like Sonny and the Sunsets, Thee Oh Sees, The Fresh and Onlys, Mikal Cronin, Fuzz, Magic Trick, Shannon and the Clams etc. etc. etc., and they have no plans to slow their role. Less than a year since Cool Ghouls released their self-titled debut with Empty Cellar and Burger Records – and with a new full-length album already in the can – one might guess that the Ghouls have their hands full. But, like label-mate and fellow San Franciscan, Tim Cohen, Pat has more songs than any one band is prepared to handle.

So as the Ghouls keep on truckin’, Thomas offers us batches of well-marinated solo material, Coasters Riding in the Air. They are infectious all-around-rad takes on classic California psych-rock; and once they are here in the world with us, they’re free to go and do what they please. He wants to keep the songs flowing; to convey another corner of the zesty musical realm that he and Cool Ghouls inhabit; but mostly, because he records ‘em and he’d like to share ‘em. This is a very good thing.

Coasters Riding in the Air will see a limited label-only release on November 26 (worldwide December 3) as a digital download via Empty Cellar and in cassette format from Burger Records. Today, you can listen to his superb track “Not Right Now”, premiered over at Prefix Mag.

“a swaggering and shimmering carefree organic rock dripping with the blithe California sunshine.” – Prefix Mag

Trippy new video for The Cairo Gang’s “Take Your Time”

The Cairo Gang – “Take Your Time” from Maximilla Lukacs on Vimeo.

SPIN premiered a new video directed by Maximilla Lukacs for The Cairo Gang’s “Take Your Time” from their latest release, Tiny Rebels.  It is super psychedelic…

Get your copy HERE!

Joseph Childress’ Rebirths is reborn and we are re-stoked!

Joseph Childress - The Rebirths Front Cover

This is the debut full-length by Joseph Childress. The ten songs on this record, dubbed “The Rebirths” by fans, were penned on the road during nearly two years of “hard traveling” – hopping freight trains, hitchhiking, and eventually living out of a car. All this came to a halt shortly after finding trouble in New Orleans, prompting Joseph to find his way back to his childhood home in the Colorado Rockies. Once there, he locked himself in the bathroom with his road-worn guitar – its neck cracked while jumping from a train – and recorded this album. Filled with young wisdom, heartbreak, and spirited jubilee, this self-recording of Joseph Childress is a stirring introduction to a young songwriter with a soul-piercing voice and an undeniable gift of song.

A low-fi snapshot of his experiences, The Rebirths captures a moment of euphoria as Joseph’s personal stories unfold into timeless songs. Peppered with thumps, creaks, improvised percussion, the weather outside the bathroom window… these recordings serve as a raw document of the time and space in which these tracks were laid. Joseph’s emotionally charged voice is powerful as it tackles tragedy and triumph over guitar that ranges from intricate finger-style to furious strumming. Fans of haunted troubadours Jason Molina, Jackson C. Frank, Townes Van Zandt and early lo-fi pioneers will find many similarities in Joseph’s music, but even more striking will be Joseph’s refreshingly original command of song.

Joseph Childress – Dance With Me from Empty Cellar on Vimeo.

In print due to relentless demand, this presentation of The Rebirths – available worldwide on bright white vinyl and digital – is newly mixed by our pal The American Opry and mastered for the first time by Paul Oldham. Limited to a single pressing of 500 copies get yours HERE

“‘The Rebirths’ provides the perfect soundtrack to daydreams of a nomadic life” — American Songwriter

“If Childress’ captivating live performances are any indication, the album will pull as much energy as possible from a single voice and guitar” –The Bay Bridged

“‘The Rebirths’ wears its humble, bathroom recorded origins on its sleeve, feeling like an intimate performance for an audience of one, but thanks to a proper remastering by Paul Oldham the album’s quiet solitude now envelops the listener like wood smoke in autumn.” — Raven Sings The Blues

“The first thing that’s clear when listening to Joseph Childress is that the man can play guitar—he’s on some Tallest Man on Earth level six string prowess. But then, just around the corner is his whispery croon, warmer and more filled out than Kristian Matsson’s, and that’s where the Vernon comparisons come into play.” -– Pigeons and Planes

“It seems Joseph Childress is that classic fast disappearing vagabond American storyteller. He can pull off this heart-wrenching confessional songwriting style, like the greats of the genre.” — 7 Inches

Announcing: The Cairo Gang – Tiny Rebels

The Cairo Gang - Tiny Rebels

"That playful dichotomy between big and small turns out to be the anchor for the album’s title track, a pretty, march-like drone drenched in so much reverb the sunny vocal harmonies sound like they’re shining in through a pinhole."

Empty Cellar Records is proud to introduce to you the first single from Tiny Rebels, the forthcoming album by The Cairo Gang (out 7/23). Listen below and watch a video by Angel Olsen for an alternate mix of the track. Pre-order HERE

Track Listing:
Side A: Tiny Rebels / Take Your Time / Shake Off
Side B: Shivers / Father Of The Man / Find You With A Song

Tiny Rebels is a new collection of songs by The Cairo Gang. They are about awareness. They show a new economy in the work of The Cairo Gang’s leader Emmett Kelly, conjuring up quick and defined songs un-housed in the shimmering of two burning electric 12-string guitars. the sound of them a swirling desert night sky under which songs call to arms multiple voices that long to be freed from the contraints of song. to be re-blooded in a frenzy of hard hitting drums and bass. all the while set against a wild array of compressed overtones that jangle by the hand of Kelly’s inversly delicate touch.

In The Cairo Gang’s previous efforts The Corner Man and the Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy collaboration The Wondershow of the World, Kelly displayed a heaviness in subtlety. The songs laboured over and performed so that the fire and rage were things to play in tandem with, as a pranaic exercise even. the result is audience for a certain type of in-tuneness, that although powerful and realized, nurture both the playing and the fire and the rage… this can be a dangerous place. this leads to Tiny Rebels. Recorded in a week, it is an epiphany of sorts. it is the boiling point that which Kelly surrendered to in one sense, but obliterated in another. the songs are empowering leaps of faith:

“Say what you want, babe. dont just sit and listen to what you are told. you’ve got what it takes.
Lord knows the only way that can suit you well.”

And from that leap they fall at a speed..

The sound of this record is what distinguishes it the most from previous works. Each song has the same instrumentation. two electric 12-string guitars, bass, and drums, with many voices often double tracked exciting a gorgeous spring reverberation and cut fiercely onto quarter inch tape. always in the red and fighting for space, the layers are deeply compressed and pulsating, creating an un-ease that fluctuates as if the listener is in a vacuum, pushing and pulling. or a wave pool. when cranked, it sounds as if there is music happening beyond the music. in the abstraction of the guitar sound. in the spacial irrecognition of the tape and reverb. the non-presence of the drums.. the jagged tremoloes. The Cairo Gang has armed itself well on this record. turn it up loud and let it wash over you like an ocean. Get yours HERE!

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