Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide” by Craft Spells from the 2014 album Nausea on Captured Tracks.
In 2009, California native Justin Paul Vallesteros created the retro-pop outfit Craft Spells. He recorded the killer debut album, Idle Labor, in 2011 and a six-song EP called Gallery in 2012, and gathered his friends Jack Doyle Smith, Javier Suarez, and Andy Lum for performances in between. But there’s been a bit of radio silence since then. Turns out that frontman Vallesteros had been unable to find inspiration while living in San Fransisco, so he headed out to his parents’ house in rural Lathrop, CA. He decided to switch up his approach to music when he put down his guitar and trained himself on the piano for an entire year. Luckily, that ended up being the push he needed to reunite with his muse. When Vallesteros deemed him music ready to go, he traveled to our fine city to produce his album with Dylan Wall. The band’s three other members linked up with him in the studio and thus Nausea was born.
Today’s featured song is the uniquely addictive “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide,” the album’s first official single. Flawless guitar rifts and bright electronics mixed with whispered vocals make this an essential for any summer playlist. It may only be their second full-length LP, but if this little sample is anything to go by, Nausea will surely thrust Craft Spells further into the much-deserved spotlight.
Though they aren’t touring at the moment, Craft Spells will be performing this summer live in Brooklyn at a showcase for their label. Hopefully, after Nausea‘s release, on June 10, they’ll hit the road again. Be sure to check their website and Facebook for any updates just in case. For now, watch Craft Spells performing their track “After the Moment” at Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party back in 2011: