A Wave of the Magic WandsWritten by Adriana Lucci
Photos by Brian Stevens
Magic Wands, a psychedelic-pop-synth duo comprised of Chris and Dexy Valentine, first garnered attention when their EP, Magic, Love and Dreams, received glowing praise from SPIN and Nylon. Since their first LP Aloha Moon debuted in April, Magic Wands has been on the rise. They’ve recently played at SXSW and Lollapalooza, touring with the likes of the Kills, the Horrors, the Raconteurs, and the Black Keys. Magic Wands describes its sound as “lovewave:” atmospheric, euphoric, and derivative—but still fresh and new.
With the video quality of an ‘80s throwback and face paint reminiscent of Bowie, “Space” combines the nostalgia one feels listening to well-loved tracks and the excitement of hearing a new artist before all your friends do.
The band began when Chris contacted Dexy after he found an early version of “Teenage Love” on her Myspace page. She eventually translocated from LA to Nashville to write music with him. You can find a polished version of “Teenage Love” on Aloha Moon, a varietal yet cohesive album with track titles such as “Crystals,” “Warrior,” and “Black Magic”—which is clearly influenced by or catering to the Tumblrverse. Magic Wand’s mood varies from dancey and lustful to soothing waves of synth. On tracks such as “Treasure” Dexy’s voice recalls Elizabeth Fraser’s, who worked with Massive Attack on Mezzanine in 1998.
The first single from the album, “Space,” has a delightfully DIY video directed by Dexy and John Charter. They shot it around Dexy and Chris’s LA apartment, using their car’s headlights for night shots, and strobes for indoors. “Space” is infectious; SPIN aptly describes it as a “sexy and propulsive stunner.” With the video quality of an ‘80s throwback and face paint reminiscent of Bowie, “Space” combines the nostalgia one feels listening to well-loved tracks and the excitement of hearing a new artist before all your friends do.