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Buffalo music spotlight: M.A.G.S.

Near the end of 2013, The Malones, a three-piece indie rock outfit featuring Steven Floyd (vocals/guitar), Brandon Schlia (drums) and Elliott Douglas (bass), threw in the towel after dropping a stellar debut EP earlier that year and completed an impressive run through local venues, leaving the threesome as a bit of a cult band in the city. Over that time, the trio seemed to develop a special something, that buzz that could get it out of the Buffalo basements and on to some serious supporting gigs for touring acts, and maybe even something more.

self titled by The Malones

When the group sadly parted ways, each member stayed active in the local scene. The ever busy Schlia continued to run and operate his DIY label, Steak and Cake Records, and has probably already started another new band. Earlier this fall, Floyd debuted his new group, the Slums, a quartet that carried on some of what made the Malones so great, but with some much heavier edges. As for Douglas, who always seemed like the least imposing one of the group despite his football player like stature, he was quietly working on his own solo project, M.A.G.S., a name that at first needed a little explanation.

“M.A.G.S. doesn't actually stand for anything in particular,” explained Douglas. “It was originally called Mags after my grandmother, Maggie, but there was already an artist using the name Mags."

With the warm reception of his late fall, two-song demo (think Strokes, Cloud Nothings), Douglas confidently went on to record "Cellophane," the official debut EP from M.A.G.S., set to be released on Admirable Traits Records on Feb. 24.

“I started M.A.G.S. because I had already been in about 13 bands up to that point, and I wanted to try something different. I knew I was capable of writing my own material, but I didn't have the confidence to actually do it until last summer when I started writing 'Cellophane.'”

Despite “Cellophane” being recorded strictly solo, Douglas later filled out the group for live shows, with M.A.G.S. now operating as a full time trio following the inclusions of Adam Lilly (Young Suns) on drums and Andy Wesner (Mosaics) on bass, with Douglas taking over guitar and lead vocal duties.

“Adam and Andy kind of fell into my lap at just the right time," Douglas explained. "I was in Mosaics with Andy briefly last year, and he agreed to fill in on bass for a couple shows, and Adam and I have a mutual friend who recommended him when I was looking for a drummer.”

With a release show just around the corner, Douglas is already thinking about the next step.

“[My] future plans would be to continue playing regionally as well as gaining an online fan base. I'm already working on new material so a full length is most likely in the distant future.”

Speaking of the release show, M.A.G.S. will celebrate the release of "Cellophane" at 8 p.m. Feb. 20 in Mohawk Place ($10) with an impressive cast of local support including Bryan Johnson & Family, the Slums and Kharlos. The cover will include a copy of "Cellophane" as well.

Listen to "My Love" below.

Mac McGuire is the editor of buffaBLOG

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