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Spotlight on Tufts Talent: Magic Man

Arts & Culture | February 26, 2010

Magic ManMeet Alex Caplow. Maybe you already know him; maybe you know his band Magic Man. He’s quiet, well spoken and passionate about his craft. And the music this sophomore makes is excellent. Really excellent. Caplow and bandmate Sam Lee, a sophomore at Yale, didn’t get their start commiserating over lost loves at dive bars in Williamsburg or Silver Lake, though. Magic Man was borne of a more innocent, more organic encounter.

“This last summer, my childhood friend Sam and I decided to go to France to work on organic farms,” says Caplow of the band’s beginnings. “We stayed in some interesting places including a chateau, a circus festival and a beach cottage.

“In our downtime, when it was too hot to work, we wrote and recorded song ideas on Sam’s laptop just using what we had: GarageBand and a built-in mic. When we returned to the States, we went back to our separate schools and collaborated via the Internet to polish our songs and decided to release them to the world for free download.”

Perhaps the best part about Magic Man’s 10-track debut album Real Life Color is that you can’t tell it was recorded and mixed on GarageBand. Each song sounds professional and sophisticated as Caplow’s vocals float over carefully measured synth and bass. The lyrics are neither sappy nor excessively dense. The listening is easy but not offensively so. One can listen to the album without being caught in a mire of nonsensical lyrics, muddled synth riffs and pretentious “I’m a college kid in a band hear me roar” rhetoric. It’s good, fun, music, plain and simple.

“I really like the idea of writing catchy pop songs with a more interesting edge. But we also have a synth-pop, dance-beat side that’s fun for playing live and, of course, dancing,” says Caplow of the band’s feel.

Response to the band’s debut has been overwhelmingly positive and blogs all over the ‘sphere are touting Magic Man as the next big thing. Thanks to the buzz, Magic Man has gotten a leg up into the record industry.

“The wonderful people over at Arcade Sound, Ltd. (a small, independent label) found our music on a blog and offered to release our first album. The physical copies should be printed soon,” explains Caplow. Tufts’ own Madeline Weisberg will be responsible for the cover art.

Now that Magic Man have permeated the blogosphere, the future naturally looks bright for this self-assured and gifted duo.

“We are really looking forward to playing South By Southwest (Austin, Tex.) in March and to open for Dan Deacon on April 8th (at Boston University). Hopefully people will dance, “ adds Caplow.  “Who knows what comes next? Another album eventually? Fame and riches? A show in the Crane Room?”

Magic Man’s debut album Real Life Color is available for free download here.