Magpies/VTO 7" split 

Every evening, at about the same time, a small motorbike buzzes past my house. It has a powerful little engine, but not like a chest-puffing Harley. This is, oddly enough, what I think about while listening to the Magpies' new track, "Barn Burner," just released on a 7" split with VTO. The song is feisty and badass, but the pretty, fuzzed-out chords and vocal melodies undercut any potential aggression. Like most of the Missoula band's music and lyrics, there's a mysterious edge and a curious story buried beneath the wave of sound. The Magpies' music always comes across like a midnight road trip, and this song is no exception—the yellow lines emerging out of darkness and speeding by as you wind your way around another bend. The new video for the song was also just released and it features cool animation created by Cade Donovan, the 12-year-old son of guitarist Hank Donovan. In the vid, a stick figure plummets from a plane. Rockets fly to the sun and, of course, there's a burning barn.

On the other side of the record, back on earth, VTO's "Kick Ass Blasters" seems like the perfect tune for late night shenanigans. This is a band that always seems mischievous without being menacing, punk rock without being self-conscious. "Kick Ass Blasters" is literally about tearing a town apart—smashing windows and such. Because, as Charlie Beaton sings, "Hey, hey, it's Friday night. It's all right." VTO started in the mid-1990s, took a decade breather and recently reunited. The band is still having a good time, and this carefree song shows it.

VTO and the Magpies play a release party at the VFW Fri., Sept. 13, at 9 PM with Thee Hounds. $2.

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