Just in time for Halloween, Chicago duo North By North are here with a massive, 17-track double LP filled with lots of guitar, in-your-face vocals, plenty of groove, fervor for days, and spooky, Stephen King-inspired elements that feel just right for the season. Last Days Of Magic not only has some of the greatest album art of the year, but front to back it’s simply one of the best albums of the year as well. Putting out a 17-song album that isn’t packed with skits or interludes is both ballsy and ambitious; you run the risk of boring the listener with lackluster filler, but North By North keep it consistently exciting with an interesting concept and intriguing songwriting that always feels fresh and theatric. Quoting myself from a previous mention of the band, North By North’s music “begs to be blasted at high volumes and sounds better and better the higher you crank the knob.”

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“Like on our first record, we wrote studio-only introductions to each side of the double LP,” explains keyboardist Kendra Blank, “but each intro is more fleshed-out, with more instrumentation and song components than you’ll find on Something Wicked. Writing and recording these intros was one of my favorite parts about tracking the album because it allowed us to not only step a bit outside of our comfort zone musically but also to delve into the back story of some of the characters a bit more than the full songs allow for. For example, ‘Dastardly’ describes the circumstances that lead to the haunting events in ‘Stone Too Sour,’ and ‘Dark Star’ personifies the getaway-car-turned-sidekick used by the femme-fatale frontwoman of ‘Quick Rick.'”

If you’re a fan of good, solid rock ‘n’ roll music, you really should make time for this album, especially if you’re into bands like the Dead Weather, Portugal. The Man, and the Veils. Last Days Of Magic will be released this Friday, October 14 through Double Hex Records (pick up a copy).

North By North tour dates:
10/14 – Portland, OR – Valentine’s
10/15 – Vancouver, BC – Fairview Pub
10/16 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
10/18 – Seattle, WA – LoFi
10/19 – Spokane, WA – The Pin
10/22 – Denver, CO – Lion’s Lair
10/25 – Omaha, NE – Dr. Jack’s Drinkery
10/26 – Lincoln, NE – Duffy’s Tavern
10/28 – Minneapolis, MN – Amsterdam Bar
10/29 – Eau Claire, WI – House of Rock
10/30 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
10/31 – Madison, WI – Mickey’s Tavern