Today’s Sounds: Majical Cloudz

The new EP by Majical Cloudz, aka Montrealer and former Pop Winds dude Devon Welsh, plus Julia Holter takes on Fleetwood Mac and fellow Californians Allah-Las go all Early Bird on us.


Majical Cloudz, Turns Turns Turns EP (Arbutus)

Montreal’s cool again people, everyone back in the pool!

Okay, so as you and I know, our fair city never ceased being cool, but a recent spate of renewed attention from outside tastemakers (which, although not essential for survival, is always good for the ol’ ego) has made it seem like a new golden age is upon us, like another 2004, or 2006.

It’s great to see the likes of Majical Cloudz getting some much deserved attention — even though most articles try to shoehorn a Grimes namedrop whenever possible — but if that’s the sugar that’ll make Devon Welsh’s bold new direction go down the hatch, then so be it. Turns Turns Turns EP is an effective four-song sampling of the former Pop Winder’s uncomfortably naked vocals and barren arrangements. Not as uncomfortable as some of the live material I presume he’s saving for his full-length, mind you.

“Turns Turns Turns,” not a Byrds cover in any way, is the catalyst: a minimal number that’s all hook. It’s a simple love song, and those never go out of style.

Welsh borderline croons without ever sounding like he’s hamming it up; imagine a more emotional Julian Casablancas, especially on the bro-rific “What That Was.”

By the time you hit the third song, “I Don’t Believe in Anybody,” it’s evident Welsh’s formula of musical and vocal repetition can be used effectively to convey some pretty powerful, direct emotions. That’s perhaps the most pleasing thing about this EP — that Majical Cloudz already has a clearly defined sound and style, but the directions it can go in are seemingly endless.


Julia Holter, “Gold Dust Woman”

It’s Fleetwood Mac rendered spectral by L.A.’s Julia Holter, for Mojo magazine’s November 2012 compilation Rumours Revisited.



Allah-Las, “Vis-A-Vis”

California’s Allah-Las have made a video to match the retro tones of their music, like a moving Polaroid, or Instagram Early Bird in flight. Their eponymous debut LP is out now on Innovative Leisure.

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