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Magik Markers - I Trust My Guitar, etc.

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Artist: Magik Markers

Album: I Trust My Guitar, etc.

Label: Ecstatic Peace!

Review date: May. 11, 2005

Magik Markers have channeled into the same path of obscure, gray light that dragged the Dead C. out of kiwi tar and led Harry Pussy from the neon swamp, the one that the Wiggins sisters shuddered beneath the covers in hopes that it would go away, that came out accidentally on the first Shaggs recordings. Capt. Beefheart captured this light in a bottle and shot it into his neck, then went and shot it into the Magic Band. Swell Maps got it in their eyes in 1972 and look what happened to them. Half Japanese got the stuff and painted their house with it. Magik Markers freebase it off tin foil with a glass stem like Topher Grace in Traffic. I use this reference, instead of say, a crack addict freebasing, to prove a point; this group of Markers marks their noise from a wholly internal, cultural frame of reference, from things that we all remember, have experienced as shared feelings, memories, thoughts, reminiscences. Whatever’s the new “Breakfast Club.” Repeating what we hear. Staying up all night. Movies and TV shows and records we all remember as soundtracks to dry humping and awkwardly molten teenage gropefests in a wood-paneled basement rec room past 11 on a school night. The first time you got it wet or got it in you. The anxiety like something’s going to spurt from your chest cavity and never stop. Parents getting divorced; smashing up our bedrooms or cars or lockers at school or some kid’s fucking face in the rage of it all. The band is probably in their twenties by now but the musk of pubescent heat stains their music indelibly; it’s as if that “permanent record” that administrators and cops hold against you actually matters after you turn 18.

Magik Markers are real as you and I, but maybe more so. They play guitar, bass, drums, though the guitars are so far from in a conventional tuning that they might not be basses. I think the girls are in charge of the strings and the vocals and the guy is behind the drumkit. Does it matter?

Ignoring the music altogether, take a ganders at the lush obscenity of the packaging. It’s a vinyl record (the grail, no CDs in sight, gang). Pamphlet enclosed with works by Thurston Moore and Byron Coley. The full-color cover (thick gatefold, inside and out) is four sumptuous images of kid-on-kid violence in the burnished autumn sunset. Action, mounting, potentially destructive. One side of a sleeve-sized insert is empty; the other crammed to the edges with impassioned scribbling, lyrics, and clues. Some excerpts: “Everybody who can get it out gets out” / “ONE DOWN NO TO GO” / “A HEART THAT HATES THE VOID” / “I got a bathtub with no water in it / These fields go on all night / You know she’s knew cause she’s tight” / a drawing of Randy California / “All I want to do is get my pussy sucked” / a crude sketch of the back of a topless woman. Christ, what would these kids do if they didn’t have this band?

Some notes I took during a really engaging listening session:

  • Three ghosts
  • The shaking hiccups of conversation during sex
  • Never forgot, how to not learn, to not learn how to play
  • V.C. Andrews’ paperbacks in flames
  • All of a sudden, motorik
  • Heartsick love / heartrent lust
  • The clock on the wall
  • Why should a dream have an end?
  • The clock IS the wall, shearing off old minutes forever

This is some loose music here, but there is method in it. It can’t sit still. It borrows as much as it gives back.

It’s hard to weigh any track here as a song, and yet there are cue lines all over side 1. And why not? That’s the more song-based side anyway. Racing, breathless dirges, at one point dissipating into white noise (one of the most exciting things on the record). Nothing ever peaks; it keeps building and building sonically and can’t let go. This would be extremely frustrating if the sounds they were making weren’t so impossibly complex as to sound loose and free, but I’m not buying that. These kids made their minds up about this record when they came into the studio. They make their minds up about everything they do. As for side 2 (“Straight A’s In Love”), it’s the new “Driver UFO”. This record is every bit as important as Harsh 70s Reality was to 1991 or Harry Pussy was to 1996. The new rock-as-noise-clatter paradigm has been set. Deal with this record head on. Learn to love or hate it. It’s a dividing line for the new noise scene.

In all honesty, I Trust My Guitar, etc. would have been my teenage fantasy. Something like it lives in the heart of every young freakbot who has found an outlet; it’s just that these three have the record out.

By Doug Mosurock

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