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Now Hear This! #018 – Wet Cactus, Jennifer Alvarado, SPELLES, Pure Bathing Culture

Now Hear This! New music from Wet Cactus, Jennifer Alvarado, smolder-core from SPELLES, and the dazzling dream-pop of Pure Bathing Culture.



Now Hear This! #018 - Wet Cactus, Jennifer Alvarado, SPELLES, Pure Bathing Culture

Now Hear This! The holidays are here. Usually, that means lots of Christmas songs. For some reason, this year, there is still lots of new non-holiday music appearing. This week we present four new artists/bands for you to check out: desert rock band Wet Cactus, creamy country from Jennifer Alvarado, the smolder-core of SPELLES, and the dazzling dream-pop of Pure Bathing Culture.

We’ll bring you a new post each week, songs from which will regularly be added to our accompanying “Now Hear This” Spotify playlist.

Find all past Now Hear This! installments right here:

Wet Cactus – Magma Tres

Wet Cactus is an alternative rock band with heavy psychedelic hints, aka desert rock, formed in Cantabria, Spain, during the summer of 2013. Remarkably, the band has maintained a constant lineup since their formation, with Daniel Pascual on vocals and bass, Ernesto Díez and Óscar Sánchez on guitars, and Jaime Pérez on drums.

They just dropped their third album, entitled Magma Tres, which conjures up suggestions of Alice In Chains, along with breaths of bluesy, prog-rock savors.

After releasing their second album, Dust Hunger and Gloom, in 2018, Wet Cactus focused on presenting their new work and building their live performances. They even shared the stage with the iconic Yawning Man on several occasions and performed at the 2019 edition of the Resurrection Fest.

Highlights on Magma Tres include “Barren Landscape,” “Mirage,” and “Self Bitten Snake.”

Jennifer Alvarado – “Colorado”

Country singer-songwriter Jennifer Alvardo began her career as a contemporary Christian singer, releasing her debut album, Hello Life, in 2015.

Somewhere in there, she went back to her country heritage, followed by dropping “I Break Things” and then her 2021 album, Playing with Fire. She then released Songbird: Part One in 2022, followed a year later by Songbird: Part Two.

Spending time in both Nashville and North Carolina, Alvarado’s list of nominations and awards is seemingly interminable, including being named ‘One to Watch’ by the Nashville Songwriters Association.

Opening on a Dan Fogelberg-like guitar, “Colorado” flows into a shimmering melody topped by Alvarado’s evocative voice, a voice recalling Judy Collins, only a bit darker and more resonant.

SPELLES – Diving Into the Arms of the Divine

The term smolder-core dream-pop perfectly describes the sound of SPELLES, who recently released their debut album, Diving Into the Arms of the Divine, which probes the heavens and hells inside each.

SPELLES comprises Luc Laurent and Kathryn Baar, who first received attention for their song, “Bird in a Cage,” which appeared on Pretty Little Liars. There’s an Annie Lennox-like flavor to Baar’s voice, at once edgy, voluptuous, and wickedly smoky. Her voice imbues SPELLES’ songs with an urgent, mysterious atmosphere.

With 11 tracks, entry points include the personal favorite “Beginnings and Endings,” “Holy Hells,” and the gooey, bluesy feel of “Double Life.”

Talking about “Beginnings and Endings,” Baar says, “I started writing this song with the piano arpeggio. Luc heard me playing it and suggested changing the rhythm. Once I did, the song quickly came to fruition.”

Pure Bathing Culture – Chalice

Portland, Oregon-based dream-pop duo Pure Bathing Culture released their new album, Chalice, not long ago. Recorded in 2021, Pure Bathing Culture shares:

“It was the first time out of our home in Portland since the pandemic began, and there was something really magical about being in a small western town that was also opening up for the first time.”

They go on, “This collection of songs is about the ritual of creativity, progress and transformation, the search for transcendence and joy, and the ability to overcome the things that haunt us. Texturally and sonically, we wanted the music to feel warm and rejuvenating.”

Made up of Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman, Pure Bathing Culture’s music oozes jangly dream-pop coloration, creating beguiling soundscapes.