Bartees Strange - Magic Boy [Red White LP] | RECORD STORE DAY
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Bartees Strange has been one of the most significant indie artists to break out in the post-pandemic era. He debuted with Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy, an album length collection of The National songs released in March 2020, on the cusp of the pandemic. Later that year came his first LP Mustang which was named to endless year end best lists including those from Pitchfork, Stereogum, Rolling Stone, and NPR Music. He quickly signed to 4AD and his debut for the label Farm To Table turned him into a club headliner and an arena-sized opening act with genre-defining artists such as The National, boygenius, Phoebe Bridgers and Courtney Barnett. The vinyl-exclusive release Magic Boy represents the Bartees story before this story began —33 1/2 minutes of recordings created before he entered the public eye, with 8 out of 10 never previously released. It finds his ever malleable sound touching on genres like coffee house folk (“IDK” - “Best Of You” - “You’re Here”), emo troubadour (“Count It Back” - “Little Brother”), and wigged-out experimentation (“Eat Your Heart Out”). Appended with two tracks previously available only as digital b-sides from Say Goodbye (“HAGS” - “Going Going”) it reads as a kind of “lost” album for someone shaping up to be a major voice in indie music. Bartees’ story is a fairy tale of independent community and a triumph of efforts to diversify what the word “indie rock” even means, reclaiming it for Black artists. The Magic Boy LP is a fine way to celebrate Bartees Strange’s explosive trajectory and his run of dates opening for The National at arenas across Europe in autumn 2023. “It seems like the sky’s the limit with him. He’s got big things ahead...” — Bryce Dessner of The National