9 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elisa Ambrogio holds so many disparate pieces of the puzzle that it’s a wonder these songs hang together so well. For the first decade of the 2000s, it was hard to keep track of how many “songs” or “albums” Magik Markers had, since anyone coming to see them play could choose among an impressive amount of CD-Rs, singles, and albums. But four years after 2009’s Balf Quarry, 2013’s nine-song Surrender to the Fantasy feels as if the group has finally settled down long enough to discuss beforehand where they want the songs to go. Pete Nolan’s timekeeping is resilient, if not always as dependable as most bands would expect—but most drummers don't have their tracks run through a phaser (“Mirrorless”). Newish bassist John Shaw seems content to give the craziness a sense of stability. Anyone on the fence about a “noise-rock” group should probably cock an ear to the guitar histrionics of “Acts of Desperation” and “American Sphinx Face” and see if it doesn’t recall the feverish side of Neil Young.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elisa Ambrogio holds so many disparate pieces of the puzzle that it’s a wonder these songs hang together so well. For the first decade of the 2000s, it was hard to keep track of how many “songs” or “albums” Magik Markers had, since anyone coming to see them play could choose among an impressive amount of CD-Rs, singles, and albums. But four years after 2009’s Balf Quarry, 2013’s nine-song Surrender to the Fantasy feels as if the group has finally settled down long enough to discuss beforehand where they want the songs to go. Pete Nolan’s timekeeping is resilient, if not always as dependable as most bands would expect—but most drummers don't have their tracks run through a phaser (“Mirrorless”). Newish bassist John Shaw seems content to give the craziness a sense of stability. Anyone on the fence about a “noise-rock” group should probably cock an ear to the guitar histrionics of “Acts of Desperation” and “American Sphinx Face” and see if it doesn’t recall the feverish side of Neil Young.

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4:03
5:01
2:25
5:36
6:46
5:28
5:42
4:36
4:31

About Magik Markers

Experimental rockers the Magik Markers formed in Hartford, Connecticut, in 2001, featuring guitarist/vocalist Elisa Ambrogio, drummer Pete Nolan, and bassist Leah Quimby. Inspired by no wave and hardcore, the Magik Markers crafted a free-rocking sound that made the most of their stream-of-consciousness approach. The band made CD-Rs available at its shows and eventually caught the ear of Thurston Moore, who invited the group to play on Sonic Youth's 2004 American tour. Moore's Ecstatic Peace label co-released the band's album I Trust My Guitar, Etc. with Apostasy Recordings in 2005. The Magik Markers were prolific in 2006, releasing The Volodor Dance (an installment in Southern Records' Latitudes series) and A Panegyric to the Things I Do Not Understand (on Gulcher Records). That year, Leah Quimby left the group, and after auditioning several replacements, Ambrogio and Nolan decided to continue as a duo. On 2007's Boss, the pair worked with Lee Ranaldo, who produced the album and chipped in guitar and glockenspiel parts. They moved to Drag City for 2009's Balf Quarry, which found the band moving in a subdued but eclectic direction. With members spread across several states and starting families, the group took its time delivering another album. Surrender to the Fantasy, which was the first full-length release to feature onetime touring bassist John Shaw, arrived in November 2013. ~ Heather Phares

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