Released on January 7, 2016
"'Magic Spell' is wee step in a more foot-tapping direction," says This Is The Kit's front person Kate Stables, by way of explaining their new EP. Containing 4 alternate versions of that track the EP is, indeed, intended less as a through-listen than as a portrait of a band exploring their creativity-and as a kind of 'choose your own adventure' for fans to decide which version is their favorite!
The EP's first three songs were recorded in what the band have dubbed the Paris Sessions-a months-long period of demoing that preceded their work in Brooklyn with Aaron Dessner, the producer of their recent full-length album. While all agree that the LP is the best encapsulation of where they are as a band, they also felt there was more worth sharing. Hence this EP which reveals some of the ideas that arose during the development period of their full-length.
The theme of evolving creativity also plays out in the painstakingly animated video for this version of "Magic Spell" released earlier this month. Directed & produced by long-time band acquaintance Sam Wisternoff, he will be selling some of the 3,000+ frames he drew while creating the video on Bandcamp as part of the release campaign. They'll be sold & shipped by Sam himself-with a limited number to be offered at the merch stand during the band's upcoming UK & European tour dates.
By all accounts it's been a banner year for This Is The Kit. Their album Bashed Out was named one of BBC 6 Music's Albums of the Year for 2015 and, indeed, it's been one of the station's most consistently played albums. The BBC also made a short documentary on the band which aired as part of the iPlayer series Guy Garvey's Music Box. The band have begun regularly selling out venues in the UK, and recently been announced as direct support on Jose Gonzalez's December 2015 tour of mainland Europe.
A video for the EP's French language song "Les Plus Beaux" will debut in early 2016.
"Magic Spell" (Paris sessions): Kate Stables explains that "'Magic Spell' is a wee step in a more foot-tapping direction than what some people have come to expect from This Is The Kit-the result of tours crammed in a car and listening to re-releases of old African groove compilations and Hugh Tracey field recordings. That and a summer or two playing to festival crowds who were up for a bit of a dancing."
"Cold And Got Colder" (Paris sessions): Another alternate version of a Bashed Out highlight, this time pumping up the drama and the danceability of the album version with a prominent horn section and some blazing guitar solos by Kate's partner in music & life Jesse Vernon.
"Les Plus Beaux" (reprise de Francois and the Atlas Mountains): A cover song of This Is The Kit's good French band pals Francois and the Atlas Mountains, best known for their pair of records on Domino Recording Co.
"Magic Spell" (Tythe remix): A proper old school remix by TITK friend & associate Tythe first heard months before the release Bashed Out on TITK's Wriggle Out the Remakes EP.
"Magic Spell": The album version of the track featuring Aaron Dessner's patented 'grower' approach to the material-adding a smoldering poise & zen calm to this well crafted song.
"Magic Spell" (La Mami solo version): An early loose sketch from the earliest demo stage of the album.
"It's an understated yet absorbing work, full of delicate arrangements that are elegantly swept along by Stables' gloriously tender vocals" - Uncut 9/10
"This is Slow Music: patiently and carefully handcrafted, as though the process was just as important as the result" - Pitchfork
"It's hard to find fault with Bashed Out, timeless and completely modern all at once. It's as lucid a record as you'll hear all year" - The Line of Best Fit 8/10
"Bashed Out" is Stables fully realized, her talent refined in such a way that only the best - the very heart of her being - was pulled out from within." - Consequence of Sound
"Bashed Out takes TITK's traditional folk to the edge of the avant-garde" - NME