Skin Mag is a Long Beach Beach-based five-piece whose evocative music is not nearly as salacious as its name suggests. The band, formed in 2016, makes painterly dream-pop, music for tentative sunrises and spectacular sunsets, and the creeping melancholy that descends when modern life encroaches on all things beautiful.
At the front is singer-guitarist Shane Barton, whose cache of demos was the basis for Skin Mag’s early work and who had to be talked into forming a band by friends and future bandmates. Eventually the lineup was rounded out by bassist Davis Stewart, drummer Devin Stewart and multi-instrumentalists Noah Kurtz and Jack Nugent.
On Friday, Skin Mag releases its debut EP, “Mourning Sickness.” The title references what the band calls “contagious mourning,” and people’s tendency to embellish the depth of their relationship with the deceased in the name of pretense. Skin Mag’s layered sound orbits the worlds of artists such as Craft Spells, DIIV and Wild Nothing, as well as others whose chill psychedelia gives a certain transcendence to bouts of introspection. From the propulsive beat of EP opener “An Exercise in Hindsight” to the palpable ache of “So Long” to the saxophone-accented “Godless Heathens” (the latter played by Nugent, the youngest member of the band, who also produces), “Mourning Sickness” is a deep dive into both the idyllic and idealistic.
||| Stream: “Mourning Sickness” EP
||| Live: Skin Mag celebrates their EP release with a show Friday night at a secret location in Chinatown, joined by Magic Wands and Wild Wing.