MIRACLE LEGION part 2 : MARK MULCAHY ( Miracle Legion frontman) and POLARIS
Producer - Tom Buckland (tracks: All tracks except 3, 10)
Licensed to Loose from Mezzotint. Distributed by Rykodisc. There is a unlisted 'hidden' sound collage at the end of track 11.
01 Hey Self Defeater
02 Hurry, Please Hurry
03 I Woke Up In The Mayflower
Mixed By - Adam Lasus/Producer - Spike Priggen
Co-producer - Adam Lasus
05 In The Afternoon
07 Ciao My Shining Star
08 Apartment Murders
09 Pasadena Love Story
Co-producer - Adam Lasus
10 Bill Jocko
Mixed By - Adam Lasus/Producer - Spike Priggen
Link to download:
"None other than Thom Yorke once claimed Mark Mulcahy as one of his quintessential vocal mentors, thanks to the latter's work in Miracle Legion. And indeed, his voice is a breathtaking instrument that gives off a spiritually tortured pall, the likes of which hasn't been matched since Van Morrison counted down the astral weeks. But it is the quality of his songs that has always elevated Mulcahy into the empyrean of songwriters, and that has never stood in more specific relief than on this striking debut solo album. The stark but tender opening tones of "Hey Self Defeater" set the mood for Fathering, a nakedly passionate affair that is, nevertheless, painted in lush shades of gray. The artist sounds saddened, and, at the same time, totally satisfied -- perhaps for the first time in his career -- in these circumstances, to be going it alone. It is that rare catharsis that is as liberating for the listener as it is for the artist, a deep glance inward that reflects back out. Mulcahy's singing, with its immaculately timeworn phrasing, is that rare gift that draws you toward it even in its most anguished state, and his songwriting is stronger here than it had ever previously been. The disheveled, shambolic beauty of his melodies is rendered even more lovely by the stripped-down electric guitar skeletons that stand alone as the structures for many of the songs. It gives them a subtle glow, soulful oases on the edge of a weary consciousness. Each song is a single thread being pulled from the garment, and the extremely minimal production further dramatizes every slight twitch, culminating in "Ciao My Shining Star," a stunning falsetto outpouring with the candlelit grandeur of Tim Buckley's music. Fathering has its share of gorgeous heartbreak and bald emotions, but it is a graceful and captivating comedown for the artist. For all its uncertainty and despair, it is full of hopeful, blind faith. It is a single halo gloriously burning itself out in the dark." ~ Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide
"I had the pleasure of having a friend take me to a Miracle Legion show in the late 80's. I went blindly and was blown-away... I went on to see them 7 or 8 other times and I can honestly say that among the 90+ shows I've seen over a decade or more the Miracle Legion shows were by far the most powerful and entertaining. Timeless. I was upset to here the band called it quits... but so psyched that Mark has carried on his tune. I picked up Fathering after seen Mark play a solo gig at a small bar in Wash. DC. Read the other reviews on this site - they speak the truth. This album has beautiful tunes that carry their own unique flavor, but obviously have Mark's finger prints all over them. His song writing and lyrics are fresh and exciting. If you were an ML fan this is a must have CD. If you are new to the game, buy this CD immediately and give it time to wash over you. I promise you'll love it."
"I purchased this record on a complete whim when it was put in the recommended section of my local record shop. I can honestly state that it is one of the best offhand purchases i have ever made.
The record has a very understated feel based on simple but beautiful melodies played with great gravity as Mulcachy lets his excellent singing draw you in. The first track is a prime example of this, the soothing quitar work forming a great backdrop against the analysis of self loathing that is the song's subject matter. Only at the end as the music gradually builds so does the feel of the song as Mulcachy asks us to be more optimistic and the melancholic mood turns to something altogether more joyous. A wonderful indication of the quality of the album as a whole.
If asked to draw comparisons the closest i can come to is a truly gifted guitarest (Clapton at his smokiest best but without any over elaboration) playing Radiohead tunes of the Bends era where the emotional rawness was paramount but stripped down of the art house pretensions with perhaps the earnestness of Wheat or Eliott Smith thrown in for good measure. In other words a record which is simply sublime.
Buy it now if you dont have it and prepare yourself for the extraordinary."
Dr. Toby Mountain-Mastering/Doug Wieselman-Clarinet/Jane Scarpantoni-Cello/
Wanda Felicia-Vocals (Background)/Mark Mulcahy-Guitar, Main Performer, Vocals, Producer/Timothy Swan-Design/Scott Amore-Moog Synthesizer, Moog Bass/M.M. Pasquale DAlbis-Producer/Isabel Weizer-Vocals (Background)/Chris Harford-Bass, Guitar/Adam Lasus- Producer
01 I Just Shot Myself in the Foot Again
02 900 Yards Away
Link to download:
""I Just Shot Myself in the Foot Again" is the first single taken from Mark Mulcahy's second album, Smilesunset. The song has the somnambulant ease of Ron Sexsmith's best tunes and is a fine introduction to the tenderly expressed grace of the songwriter's muse. It is romantically contemplative and frank, with a particularly unsparing eye for the singer's own motives, but the song also has a filmy and languid gauze hovering over it that lends the proceeding a detached feel. The rest of the record is given over to two totally new compositions as well as one stunning cover from a like-minded artist whose gravitas Mulcahy manages to pull off in his finest moments. Elvis Costello's already lovely "Shipbuilding" gets a scaled-down overhaul that transforms it from a jazz ballad into a severely pensive falsetto love letter trimmed with grim orchestration. It's a perfect complement to the featured song, and works well against the gusto of Mulcahy's wonderful new opuses, both of which balance his wistful side with more full-bodied productions and energetic performances. In addition to the quartet of songs, the EP includes a specially enhanced Quicktime video for "We're Not in Charleston Anymore," also from Smilesunset." ~ Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide
"First, there was Miracle Legion, a mighty, jangly pop band crippled by major label high jinks. Then, there was Polaris, the mysterious and infectious house band of the late, lamented Nick show "Pete & Pete." Now there is simply Mark Mulcahy, a gifted songwriter with a knack for quiet songs of seething beauty. The four songs on this "single" from his forthcoming album are one small step beyond his excellent solo debut "Fathering." More acoustic, more melodic and maybe -- just maybe -- more accessible.
"I Just Shot Myself..." seems ready for AAA radio, an immediately appealing peek into the mind of a romantic scalawag (one of Mulcahy's favorite subjects). "900 Yards Away" picks up the pace with an acoustic running of the bulls. Elvis Costello's ballad "Shipbuilding" is sparse and spooky, with celloist-to-the-stars Jane Scarpantoni lending a hand. Finally, "Frisky Said" is a fun, shimmying rocker that states "Your way was fine/Until I found mine." Mulcahy has found his way, hitting his stride as a solo artist who deserves a wider, attentive audience. "
"I've been a big fan of Miracle Legion and Polaris for a long time now. I always knew Mark had a solo career going on, and knew he was releasing records, but somehow I didn't really focus on it.
On one warm morning early last year, I bought "Surprise Surprise Surprise" (Miracle Legion's second major recording) from Mezzotint's website. When it came in the mail, I also recieved this (for free -- nice people they are at Mezzotint). Well, I got hooked to "Surprise" easily; this one took some warming up to for some reason.
But when the music from this little EP sank in, it really, really sank in. This is beautiful, amazing, wonderful music, and Mark Mulcahy is truly a talent in a time when good music is so rare.
I'm so glad I have this EP. The four songs are infectious, little pieces of quiet beauty. And as a bonus, you even get a quicktime video featuring Mark play "We're Not In Charleston Anymore"!
I can't wait to purchase Mark's other recordings. Thanks Mezzotint, and most of all, thank you Mark for making my days shine brighter than they usually do."
Dr. Toby Mountain-Mastering/Doug Wieselman-Bass, Clarinet, Harmonica, Mandolin/Jane Scarpantoni-Cello/Wanda Felicia-Vocals, Vocals (Background)/Mark Mulcahy-Organ, Bass, Guitar, Drums, Main Performer, Producer, Singer, Vocals, Glockenspiel, Chimes, Harmonica/
Timothy Swan-Design/Leah Coloff-Guitar, Cello/Mike Menner-Engineer/Christopher Wells-
Mixing/Isabel Weizer-Vocals (Background)/Nigel Powell-Guitar, Shaker/Chris Harford-
Bass, Guitar, Pedals/Adam Lasus-Producer, Mixing, Engineer
© 2001 Mezzotint under exclusive license to Loose. There is a 'hidden' bonus track at the end of track 12. Sleevenotes: "All the singing, and most of the instruments were played by Mark Mulcahy. The rest of the music was played by a lovely cast of sweethearts. They put the honey on the candy."
01 Micon the Icon
02 I Just Shot Myself in the Foot Again
03 Alamo in Alabama
04 Quiet One
05 Way That She Really Is
06 Until I Say So
07 We're Not in Charleston Anymore
08 Wake Up Whispering
09 Come On
10 Resolution #1
11 I Hate to Needy Need You
12 Cup of Tea and Your Insights
Link to download:
"The title of Mark Mulcahy's second solo outing would seem to indicate that the artist is ready to drink in that light just over the last hill. But as with all sunsets, there is also a lonely darkness waiting beyond the horizon. And, indeed, in the opening "Micon the Icon," the singer moans "I need a shoulder to cry on" as if he's not quite ready to live with himself just yet. Songs like the album's first single, "I Just Shot Myself in the Foot Again," and "I Hate to Needy Need You" also betray the kind of inward-looking misery that is the sure sign of an attached and still-aching heart. Luckily, misery has rarely been as alluring as Mulcahy makes it. He translates gloom into what amounts to a sleepy dream. It may be somewhat unnerving but you, nevertheless, don't want to wake from it. The East European melody of "Until I Say So," for instance, is terribly melancholy, bit it is so gorgeously sad that you want to live in the world Mulcahy has created, where "heaven's just an ocean away." And yet, Smilesunset does have a warmer, dusk-colored cast to it that finds the songwriter coming outside just long enough to take in the last remnants of sunlight. This is especially evident in a richer production. The almost naked sound of the debut was an ideal backdrop for the raw passion and discontentment of the sentiments, but here the emotion is more vibrant and less self-directed, and the production brings out those little playful details and deeper niches. Even on the hushed cabaret-tinged songs, the sound is drunken rather than dreary, a beautifully remembered hallucination rather than a pining outcry. And Mulcahy sounds positively zealous on songs like "We're Not in Charleston Anymore" and "The Quiet One," with its jazzy lilt. Smilesunset is an amazingly fertile record, every bit as wonderful as Fathering, perhaps with an even stronger magnetic attraction. Mulcahy seems to get better with each note. ~ Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide
"The debut solo album by Mark Mulcahy, 'Fathering', was a good album. 'Smilesunset', is a great one. It begins with the whimsical, almost silly 'Micon the Icon', and continues through styles as diverse as baroque cabaret, slight jazz stylings and quiet ruminations on love, lost and current. The only thing more beautiful than his gorgeous guitar playing, is his always distinctive voice. 'The Way She Really Is', and 'Resolution #1' are stunning highlights. 'Alamo in Alabama' meanders along and peaks with one of the most melodic choruses that he's written thus far. No one sounds like Mark Mulcahy...and that's a good thing."
"When we last heard from Mark Mulcahy, on Fathering, he was lying naked on the floor of a Manhattan hotel following some erotic adventure. After that stripped down, alternatively bawdy and sorrowful solo album, all angular and perverse, SmileSunset sounds like a tentative stab at a larger audience. Once again, Mulcahy plays most of the parts himself, but this time pretty arrangements and guest musicians create an attractive sheen. There is no getting away from Mulcahy's idiosyncratic approach to rhythm and song structure, which makes SmileSunset an adventurous listen. He slips often and headlong into self-indulgence (to wit: the dire Until I Say So), but on the whole he manages to carry it off, perhaps on account of his candour, or the David Gray like timbre in his voice. The album's highlights are the exuberant, cartwheeling The Quiet One and the urban gothic Alamo in Alabama, yet the tone overall is muted, hinting at sadness to come after nightfall.
In support of SmileSunset, Mulcahy played an impromptu solo show at a small caf bar in York, UK, in June 2001. He alternatively soothed and stung the small boho audience, raising as many quizzical eyebrows as cheers with his tales of losers and fleeting conquests. Like Jeff Buckley, Mulcahy can sing his heart out, disregard conventional song structure and fearlessly expose his emotions. Mulcahy is not a showy chanteuse though, his voice has more Massachusetts grit, with the choirboy determinedly kept under a grimy city cloak. In concert, the louder material, such as his live centrepiece Bill Jocko, received only polite applause, whereas the quieter, more confessional songs like Wake Up Whispering or Hey Self Defeater had the audience listening with rapt attention. He also delved into his back catalogue for songs from his former band The Miracle Legion and two songs from a US-only cartoon show, The Adventures of Pete and Pete."
J Mascis-Guitar, Lead/Joey Santiago-Guitar/Allison Young-French Horn/Zeke Fiddler-Photography, Video/Mark Mulcahy-Guitar, Vocals, Glockenspiel, Percussion, Producer, Clapping/Scott Helland-Bass/Ken Maiuri-Organ, Piano, Organ (Hammond), Vox Organ, Clapping, Accordion, Guitar (Acoustic)/J. Alan Johnson-Graphic Design
01 In Pursuit of Your Happiness
02 Cookie Jar
03 I Have Patience
04 Be Sure
05 Can't Find a Reason to Let You Go
06 World Away from This One
07 Smack on the Lips
08 Everything's Coming Undone
10 Nothing But a Silver Medal
12 He Vanished
Link to download:
"Despite the distinction of having fronted Miracle Legion, singer/songwriter Mark Mulcahy hasn't had an easy time carving out an identity for himself as a singer/songwriter. But with In Pursuit of Your Happiness, the guy has assured listeners he clearly deserves it. It's not the cast of high-profile guests (Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis plays drums while Joey Santiago of the Pixies contributes French horn) that's yielding him praise -- it's all these great experimental pop songs. The title cut is a reflective, Farfisa-laden peculiarity, while "A World Away from This One" is a soft ballad with a gentle croon. Elsewhere, Mulcahy offers Nilsson-like drama on "Be Sure" and melodic stripped-down winners like the heartfelt "Cookie Jar." Balancing the warmth of the latter with the alluring and airy pop shuffle of "I Have Patience" -- complete with lines like "The things I love I don't enjoy/The things I want, I want to destroy" -- is pretty darn complicated. Mulcahy makes it all seem easy. "~ John D. Luerssen, All Music
"Okay. Let me tip my hat to Mr. Mulcahy and offer my utmost respect and adoration. I mean, he's been doing this for 21 years with Miracle Legion and then on his own, and for some reason he's STILL playing dives. I mean, seriously, how is he not the biggest sensation around? I've gotten all of my friends into his music (first through the Polaris album, then through this one) and they all agree he isn't getting his due. That's enough ranting for now, on to the review. What an album! Oh my god, I can't seem to remove it from the stereo no matter what I do. I've heard everything Mulcahy's done, and I must say, as hard as it is for me to believe, he keeps getting better everytime. This album is easily in my top 20 albums of all time. From the beginning title track (an odd intro, but still well played) until the bar room sadness of the last song "He Vanished" (and the hidden track), this album stands and delivers, blowing your mind while entertaining and making you wanna rock out. The first time I listened to it, I just sat there stunned. I was amazed to say the least. Mulcahy takes simple chord progressions and turns them into ear candy so delicious that you'll be craving more instantaneously. If radio today was filled with songs like "Cookie Jar" and "Smack on the Lips", maybe I'd consider listening to the radio more often. Every song on here is strong and beautiful and catchy and makes me immediately want to break out my guitar and play along. "He Vanished" is an amazing tribute to a lost friend, "Be Sure" (specifically the violin solo) is the sound of heartbreak, "I Have Patience" is one of the best written 12-bar blues scale songs in years, and "Cookie Jar" is pop perfection. Don't just rely on my word, pick up this album for yourself. I assure you you will not be disappointed. Thank you Mark Mulcahy for doing what you do. If you're in pursuit of MY happiness, you don't have to look much further than this album."
"Ah...all we have is words to describe what moves us, and that's a shame because sometimes they aren't enough. I've followed the trail of genius from the Adventures of Pete and Pete televison show (full of songs and music that get to me like nothing else) all the way to the source of that genius himself, Mark Mulcahy. It has been an adventure full of pleasant surprises and this album is a wonderful continuation of that. To everyone who doubts the quality of this music, I would just like to say this: Give it a chance and let it grow on you because 9 times out of 10 it will. You may not like it at first, but you will. This is not always music that hooks you right away, but once you understand it's beauty, you simply wont be able to get enough of it. As always, great album. "
Alternative Rock, Emo, Indie Rock
Bass - David McCaffrey/Percussion - Scott Boutier/Vocals, Guitar - Mark Mulcahy/Written By - Mark Mulcahy
01 Hey Sandy
02 She Is Staggering
03 Waiting For October
06 Ivy Boy
08 Coronado II
09 Ashamed Of The Story I Told
10 As Usual
12 The Monster's Loose
Link to download:
"Any true fan of The Adventures of Pete and Pete knows how much the music of Polaris contributed to the excellence of the show. "She is Staggering" is indescribably beautiful and perfect, one of my favorite songs of all time. Everyone who loves the show needs to have this CD, but even people who have never heard of Pete and Pete would enjoy it as well. It's simply very good music."
"ive looked at buying this cd for years...and recently i was givin season one of pete and pete on dvd and this prompted me to say aw heck lets get the cd...and ive been kicking myself now for not doin it years ago...the cd is so solid...not only does it tie into the series in such a key manor but the songs are some of the best ive heard in a few years...and with all the crap thats comin out in music these days it really nice to hear an album that is this good...even tho polaris only existed for pete and pete...this cd sits in my all time top 5 and it will damn hard to get it outta there..."
"Polaris, aka the guys who did the music for the hit Nickelodeon show Pete & Pete, are a really good band with an unfortunately unappealing singer (in some of the songs). He's not bad, but I can certainly see some people not liking him. However, Polaris makes up for this with some very high quality songs (see "Waiting For October" and "Everywhere", especially), and as a whole I'd say the pros far outweigh the cons. Musically it's very reminiscent of The Ocean Blue or R.E.M., as there's not much innovation here. You probably won't care about that in the end, though. The production is also pretty well done, though nothing to write home about. The lyrics are pretty interesting, though nothing really deep - you'll probably like listening to them closely I think. Every song here is good, but what pushes it up to a "5" are the songs "Waiting For October" and "Everything" which are just awesomely nostalgiac 90's pop rock songs. It's barely not a classic, so if you like your pop rock in the vein of R.E.M. or The Ocean Blue, then chances are you'll love Polaris! Highly recommended! Highlights include: the entire album!"
"No other band is like this. Buy this cd!! If you don't like it. Ur a real wierdo! The early 90's have good music too!"
About the band :
Polaris is just basically the lead singer from Miracle Legion, Mark Mulcahy, with some help from Miracles Legion's drummer Spot, Miracle Legion's bassist Dave McCaffery, and Drew Waters.