Recently, I found myself in a SoDo bagel shop watching Craft Spells first performance in two years. Playing songs off their brand new (and long awaited) sophomore full-length, Nausea, Craft Spells transformed a seemingly cold and industrial deli into an invitingly intimate living room with their unique brand of dream pop.
Justin Vallesteros is the heart of Craft Spells, he writes all of the music and has now expanded Craft Spells into a full band for recording and touring. Vallesteros followed up 2011’s critically acclaimed Craft Spells debut LP Idle Labor with an EP titled Gallery in 2012, and then promptly went off the radar. Moving from Seattle to San Francisco, Vallesteros fell into a creative slump and traded his guitar in for a piano, taking a full year to properly train himself on the keys.
From that switch came Nausea—Craft Spells’ best material to date—where Vallesteros gracefully transforms his bedroom dream-pop into something larger, filled with real strings, acoustic guitar, piano chord progressions, and colorful drumming.
But why the name Nausea for such a beautiful, lush, seemingly feel good record? Vallesteros’ idle days in San Francisco prompted a sort of in-between lifestyle where he spent time in both the big city and in the suburbs of Lathrop, California where his parents call home. This almost transient life made Vallesteros disillusioned (his semi-addiction to social media also didn’t help) and gave him actual nausea. He was somehow able to write songs to cure that sickness—songs with immense beauty and melodic healing power.
Experience the healing powers of Craft Spells as they join the Bumbershoot 2014 music lineup with a performance on Sunday, August 31st. Don’t miss this up-and-coming band’s homecoming set, the perfect soundtrack to enjoy a sunny Labor Day weekend.