Third Man releasing 7″ from lost ’80s UK band Magic Roundabout
Third Man Records is releasing a 7" by late '80s Manchester band Magic Roundabout. Never Heard of them? Almost nobody has. The group never released anything during their existence, apart from one song on a very rare cassette compilation curated by Pulp's Mark Weber. They ran in similar circles as Spacemen 3, Loop, and My Bloody Valentine and made the kind of racket you could draw a through-line from The Velvet Underground through Jesus & Mary Chain and The Shop Assistants.
How Magic Roundabout came into Third Man's hands involves a couple of artists who used to be signed to 4AD Records in the '90s. Ian Masters, who led Pale Saints, discovered the tapes for the two songs on this 7" and passed them along to His Name is Alive's Warren Defever who works for Third Man Mastering. "I walk in to the studio, Warren [Defever] is working away," says Third Man Records' Dave Buik. "Feedback, hypnotizing bass line,perfect female vocal harmonies and a drummer so minimal you just know they are standing coming out of the speakers. All I could see was stripes and paisleys. I became instantly obsessed with tracking down this mystery band's complete discography. ‘They don’t have a discography you say?’ Just like that my obsession had become dangerous and unhealthy.”
Ian Masters calls Magic Roundabout “the mysterious missing link between The Velvet Underground and pragVEC. How did the music industry miss these talented teenagers? They were fucking idiots, that’s how.”
Both of the tracks on this Third Man 7" are pretty great. "Sneaky Feelin'" is awash in hazy guitars and heavenly harmonies, with a strong melodic bassline Mo Tucker-style drumming propelling it forward. "Song for Gerard Langley," named for the singer of fellow UK group The Blue Aeroplanes, has more of a '60s psychedelic pop vibe with bells and woodblock brightening the crash of stringed instruments.
Magic Roundabout's "Sneaky Feelin'" / "Song for Gerard Langley" 7" is out March 12 (pre-order), and there are apparently enough other tracks where they came from for a full album that will be released by Third Man later this year. You can pre-order the single now and listen a snippet of "Sneaky Feelin'" now, below.