AF EXCLUSIVE TRACK: Which Magic “Electra Light”

 

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the dazzling Sara Autrey of Which Magic

It wasn’t very long ago that I stumbled upon Which Magic’s bandcamp page, but it feels like I’ve listened to and loved Sara Autrey’s Baltimore-based project forever.  It could be the timeless, soulful quality of her voice, or her innovative, fearless, anything-goes approach to creating music, or that inherent playfulness paired with the dreamy quality of her songs.  Or it could be that I feel a deeper connection and kinship to these anthems and their maker based simply on the fact that each track somehow manages to encompass my favorite sorts of feelings – the bleary haze of relaxed afternoons, the swoon of having a new crush to obsess over, the magic of being alive.

AudioFemme was ecstatic to host Which Magic’s first-ever NYC performance at our CMJ showcase.  Sara is an amazing performer, bursting with energy, busting out jokes, and battling with her temperamental guitar.  Thus far, she’s recorded and released a self-titled cassette and a split EP with Wing Dam, a band in which she collaborates with her boyfriend Austin Tally.  These offerings show a subtle progression from folksier sounds to beat-driven jams, but both are carried off with an earnest and artful DIY approach that makes the material seem that much more personal and authentic.

Continuing along that trajectory, Autrey’s begun to infuse her tunes with more hip-hop influenced delivery and more eclectic rhythms, obsessions she’s had since since a friend taught her how to create her own beats.  “Hip-hop is so influential to my musical style. It’s badass and sexy, everything I aspire to be,” Autrey says, laughing.  This fascination was clearly the impetus for Which Magic’s newest track “Electra Light”, which we are pleased to present here as an AudioFemme exclusive.

Autrey says the inspiration for the song came in part from her dual nature as a Gemini, being at odds with feelings of inadequacy on one hand and having complete confidence on the other.  “Feeling like shit about anything is great inspiration to write songs” Autrey explains.  But in listening to “Electra Light” it’s nearly impossible to detect any traces of self-doubt; it sounds instead as though Autrey is imagining herself as a kind of superhero who uses moonlight and breezes to bathe the world and herself in truth.  It isn’t until the last verse, in which Autrey croons “Cryin’ to the moon because I dont shine like I used to / and though I speak right I know the things I do
are not always true” that we’re reminded that the singer of these verses is not invincible or beyond reproach.  Ultimately, the song is “about the duality of self – the things you like about yourself, the things you hate… all at the same damn time, at the same damn time” Autrey says.

When pressed about her songwriting process, Autrey describes her rituals as a bit chemically enhanced thanks to espresso and (ahem) herbal substances.  “I also make a point of saying what I need to say in a song one of two different ways,” she adds, “Either a.) as vaguely and artfully as possible, or b.) as blatant an honest as possible. No in-between.  Again… Geminis…”

Autrey’s not slowing down her musical output one bit.  She’s hard at work on a new project called called “Glitteris” (pronounced like CLITORIS but with more sparkle). “This is going to be my rap project.  I, along with Lizz King, have been tapping into my inner gangsta… We feed off of each others’ need to be a boss bitch (in all the positive sense of the term) and put it into words.”  Autrey is also collecting beats made by individuals throughout Baltimore, including beats from Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes.  It will be exciting to see how the two preoccupations come together.  “Stay tuned,” warns Autrey.  It’s advice we’ll gladly take.

For now, check out “Electra Light” below.  And continue reading for some of Autrey’s musical recommendations.

WHICH MAGIC LOVES…..

WING DAM– my other band that I’m in, as a bassist/vocalist…total grungy rock from Baltimore. I wake up every day ever with one of the songs from “Damage” stuck in my head, in the best possible way, not the annoying way.

JONAH RAPINO “Berbere Superstar”- total ethiopian ghetto beats with electric violin overdubbing and amazing sampling happenning here…DEFINITELY give “thug sign” a listen or 10.

THE AMPS – Kim Deal from The Breeders side project!! So fuckin’ good! So punk! So so so chill punk rock bad-ass… godDAMN the album PACER is amazing. The best. 1995.

MOSS OF AURA – Baltimore-based instrumental synth-hip-h’pop mega dramatic awesomeness from the keyboard genius of the band Future Islands, Gerrit Welmers. All of his songs are incredible and moody and mood-inspiring, but the song “Never” really really makes me dance like I’m possessed.

ELO – Electric Light Orchestra will never get old. The album “Out of the Blue” is truly an inspiring masterpiece full of uplifting ass shakin songs.

LIZZ KING – also Baltimore-based lady songstress of badassness and sexuality. She was my original musical mentor and she helped me get my first shows ever/introduced me to the Baltimore scene. Lizz is also the first woman I’ve ever seen perform as a total fucking boss. BO$$ as hell, check the video for “BOOTY QUEEN”.

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