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1_Craft Spells_Brooklyn Night Bazaar

Saturday night featured a great night of free music at the always festive Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Craft Spells were headliners, with support comings from The Bilinda ButchersFoxes In Fiction, and Heavenly Beat. Unfortunately Foxes In Fiction’s Warren Hildebrand was under the weather and had to cancel, but even so, the trio of bands made for a memorable night of free music for fans of all ages (it was a very young crowd).
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Craft Spells - Nausea

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Justin Vellesteros and his band Craft Spells. Even longer since their last full-length album. Well thankfully they have announced a new one. It’s called Nausea and it’s out June 10 via Captured Tracks.

Nausea was recorded in Seattle, recorded/engineered by Dylan Wall and produced by Vallesteros himself. Vallestteros experienced artistic and personal growth during his hiatus away from the band, discovering a new version of himself when compared to the one that released 2010’s Idle Labor. He trained himself properly on piano, as it’s instrument from which all the tracks for Nausea were written. So clearly this new album is a new direction for the band.

The first taste of the album is single “Breaking The Angle Against The Tide.” Craft Spells have treated us with a free mp3 download of the song, and what a gift it is. Those wicked guitar lines are still there, but this time they are guiding by sweeping strings that add a whole different layer to their sound. It’s sounding sort of like the direction Wild Nothing took mixed in with the earnest nature of The Drums.

It’s an impressive comeback song. Grab your free download below.
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The Drums // Craft Spells @ Webster Hall (April 22, 2012)

By Will Oliver, April 23rd 2012 — with 1 comment

Part Time were the first opener, hailing from San Francisco. They sounded a lot like Ariel Pink to me. Craft Spells followed and put on a pretty high energy, set that got people’s feet moving. Justin Paul Vallesteros vocals didn’t sound as good as I hoped, but he adjusted well during the second half of their set. The faster paced songs definitely do the band more good live.

The Drums seemingly sound better every time I see them. Although they had another new live drummer and were without guitarist Connor Hanwick. They didn’t miss a beat though playing through most of Portamento, and the hits from their debut. They finished strong with “The Future” and “Let’s Go Surfing”, leaving me more than satisfied. I’m already counting down the days until they open for Bloc Party. See you then.

Hit the jump for photos from all three bands.
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[new]: Craft Spells – Still Left With Me

By Will Oliver, February 24th 2012

Craft Spells are releasing a new EP titled Gallery on May 15th via Captured Tracks. They’re previewing it with new single “Still Left With Me”.

The band’s delightful ode to 80s synth-rock is still perfectly intact. The band has taken things a step further, staying true to themselves, while also becoming more comfortable in their shoes. We still have 5 more songs to hear from the EP, but this fantastic track will hold me over for now.

Hit the jump for the full tracklisting.
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Hibou – “Fall Into”

By Will Oliver, February 2nd 2018 — with 2 comments

Hibou is the project of Peter Michel, formerly a member of Craft Spells. Fans of theirs will find plenty to love in Michel’s airy electro-rock that has a life of his own.

He will return with new album Something Familiar which will come out on March 2 via Barsuk Records. He’s recently shared the album’s stunning single “Fall Into,” a song that packs a hell of a punch.

It instantly showcases some air-tight production that allows its funky bassline and 80s synth lines to do their work, totally paving the way for his floating vocals. Just when you think you know where “Fall Into” is going it shifts gears and becomes even more expansive to the point where you’re wondering why Hibou isn’t a much bigger name yet. But based on “Fall Into” and the promise of the rest of the record, it’s only a matter of time.

Find the official music video (directed by Kelia and Luca) for “Fall Into” posted below. If you dig what you hear you can preorder the album here.
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Party Jacket – “Can’t Have You”

By Will Oliver, July 4th 2017

Party Jacket is the indie pop project of Joshua Grimes based out of the suburbs in northern Illinois. He’s gearing up for the release of his debut album Weekend Exotic which will be released later this summer.

One listen to the demo of “Can’t Have You” will win over fans of acts like Wild Nothing and Craft Spells, digging deep into its 80s indie rock sound. Soothing vocals lead the charge of some groovy riffs and atmosphere soaked deep in rhythm and soul. Considering this is only a demo, there’s quite a lot of promise not just on this song, but for the album and Party Jacket’s budding career.

Take a listen to “Can’t Have You” below.
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Best Songs of 2014

By Will Oliver, February 20th 2015 — with 1 comment


(artwork by Dana Pacifico)

Apparently I got Chinese New Year confused with the end of 2014, as it took me until now to finally share my list of favorite songs from 2014. It’s late, but you better bet it’s a true indication of my favorite songs of 2014. These are the 100 songs that I played and enjoyed the most and are still playing on regular rotation. They came from the most established artists like Beck, as well as newcomers such as Alvvays, Leon Bridges and Flyte. It’s a bit all over the map stylistically, which is a good thing if you ask me.

I’ve posted the list of songs below from 100-1. I’ve turned the entire list into a spotify playlist (keep in mind some tracks weren’t on spotify so if that’s the case, just come back here and you can click the song it will take you to the tracks soundcloud/youtube page). Head to the bottom of the page for the spotify playlist, or just head here.

With that said, here are my favorite songs that were released in 2014, finally:
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