The Bad Signs – Black Magic Moments: Record Store Day EP (2017)

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Just in time for Record Store Day 2017 comes Black Magic Moments, a five-song 12-inch limited edition debut EP from the moody and mysterious Bad Signs from Nashville. Listen closely, as there’s supposed to be some backwards masking with messages on Side B that’s also exclusive to this release, which will be limited to just 1,000 copies.

We’re talking magical moments inspired from within the black-vinyl grooves here people – not in the occult, which is evident from the fab cover. With the haunting first single “Blue Love,” imagine Tammy Wynette or Loretta Lynn in the ’60s, singing with Chris Isaak’s band back in 1985 – telling a tale of a love that burns inside your sad, broken heart while picking dead flowers. This is late night, dream-state music, folks.

The Bad Signs reminded me of L.A.’s Mazzy Star mashed up with Roy Orbison, but with country-influenced female lead vocals provided here from the enchanting Samantha Harlow. It’s all washed in a mountain of reverb along with the echoey guitars provided by brothers Nat and Rob Rufus; they encompass the music to a very cool effect that’s really memorable.

The Bad Signs’ music has also been compared to Quentin Tarantino’s soundtrack music, which I think is pretty fair statement, but I’d go as far saying it’s more filmmaker David Lynch’s soundtrack music along with Chris Isaak’s first album Silvertone, which I think is a much more accurate comparison. It’s cool, haunting music.

“Hypno-Twist” is a swirling instrumental with the title spoken several times in a tornado of musical activity. “Nine Lives” sounds like a close cousin of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” with a tempo that’s a tad slower but just as compelling. The dramatic “Love Lock” tells the tale of lover struggling with the chains of love. The track grabs onto you when you least expect it, with big, slashing guitars pouring on down.

Black Magic Moments is also the only place you’ll find a lovely, inspired, much-slowed down guitar-and-vocal only version of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” If you can find a copy of this fabulous EP, grab it while you still can. I really loved their sound and I can’t wait to hear a debut album from the Bad Signs, whenever that happens.

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Steve Elliott
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