The surf-like band takes on bigger issues on its new album, "Bermuda."
(This story on Mrs. Magician is the first for new contributor Jessie Rubini.)
Mrs. Magician is not a surf band. Mrs. Magician might have a Beach Boys inspiration and heavy reverb on guitar, but its members don’t connect with the beachy style. According to front man Jacob Turnbloom,“I don’t write about any of that stuff. I don’t write about surfing.”
The San Diego based band plays Gasa Gasa tonight, and it recently released its second album, Bermuda, which focuses on topics far from sand and sun. Its first album, Strange Heaven, features a tongue-in-cheek song, “There is No God,” with lyrics that once made a 13 year-old girl in the front row of their concert cry—something Turnbloom admits he’s “not proud of.” Bermuda touches on privilege and conspiracy theories, and while we talked, Turnbloom focused on one theme more seriously than others: gentrification.
Signs of gentrification are subtle, but accumulate over time. A Whole Foods replaces the mom and pop shop. The neighborhood bar replaced with a boutique for cats. Turnbloom has been watching it change the character of San Diego. “There’s a song on [the new album] that is specifically about San Diego and how its changed into this gross vape/craft beer black hole,” he says. “It’s funny because when you leave, you realize every place is like that.” New Orleans is certainly dealing with it as people with money are buying up houses in neighborhoods that once were homes to lower income families, in the process pricing those people out of Orleans Parish. Many major cities—Austin, San Francisco, Oakland, and Atlanta for starters—are also dealing with similar issues.
So does seeing a need for social change translate to activity?
“I don’t think I have an overt responsibility for changing anyone,” Turnbloom says. “If I do have any responsibility, its to write music that has those messages.”
Turnbloom doesn’t claim to be all-knowing about the issue either. “I don’t understand it completely,” he says. “It’s just a commentary of my perspective.”