Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Update: Craft Spells' debut far from idle, laborious

Craft Spells - Idle Labor
Captured Tracks
-out now
3.5 / 5

The dream-scapes crafted by the Stockton, CA dream pop outfit well suit their name: they are well crafted, and sneak upon the listener like a spell. Evoking a demure Ariel Pink vocally, Craft Spells balances their tracks similarly, scooping in a big heft of guitar and synth that almost overpowers the shy, almost monotone vocals. While not exactly what we had in mind, there's no denying that "Party Talk" comes off sparkling and shimmering, "After the Moment" just as laid-back, with the overall effect suiting well your 80s high-school-crush flashbacks. We think fellow dream-poppers will adore this album, but the unusual sonic balance and washed-out color (not just on the cover) does take some getting used to. Still worth a couple spins to get into it, and worth a few quid to kick back and slow down all that rushing music in your head. Recommended.

Listen to "You Should Close the Door" at The Fader!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Concert Report: Ivan and Alyosha

(L to R, c Julia Markowitz: Tim Kim, Tim Wilson, Pete Wilson, Ryan Carbary) They're not just blindly and uplifting, nor depressing and goth, and sport a mean maraca. Leading with "I Was Born to Love Her" off their latest EP, Fathers Be Kind, acoustic quartet Ivan and Alyosha settled into the somewhat compact stage at Great Scott in Allston. Intimate, though tight, the venue proved ideal for harmonies, handclapping, and hushed melodies; also ideal for trying out a handful of new songs on the crowd. While we don't have a recording - and you're certainly going to have to wait until their debut LP next Spring to hear the new ones - let us just state that you missed moments replete with whistle solos and simple country hometown-ness (whatever that may be); a crowd giving in to claps and modest guitar solos; and brothers Tim and Pete Wilson sharing a mic, with the former attempting to kiss and embarrass the latter (c'mon, it's just one on the forehead!). Wrapping up with crowd-pleasing "Fathers Be Kind" and an especially playful "Glorify," their set, though brief, should betoken good things to come for the congenial, down-to-earth foursome. We suggest getting on this wagon early; and picking up a sweet signed tee, nice!