The Spell
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The Spell

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"The Spell Put You Under Their...Well, You Can Probably Guess"

You're not crazy if you think you've heard the blues-electro-pop-hip-hop sounds of Long Beach quintet the Spell before. That's because four of the band's members -- singer Josh Brown, guitarist Steve M., bassist Tone Blair and guitarist-keyboardist Andy Kiddoo -- all spent time in On Blast, a group that appeared on the verge of success before disappearing.
In December 2009, I joined Brown, Kiddoo, Blair and then-guitarist Travis Raab on a trip to Mexico City, where the quartet played the main stage at the inaugural Goliath Festival. From 500 yards away, I watched and listened to the group soundcheck "Optimistic" -- the opening track to the band's self-titled debut -- and I thought, "These guys are going to be huge."

I'd never come across a local group with more potential than On Blast, but it turns out my prediction was incorrect. What was supposed to be the band's coming out party instead turned into the beginning of the end. Raab left the group soon after, and the threesome attempted to continue as a trio. But downsizing from a quartet translated into a thinner live sound.

Then came problems with Street Life Records, the label to which On Blast was signed. (They prefer not to discuss the issues.) Kiddoo, Blair and Brown in 2010 formed the Spell along with original On Blast guitarist Steve M, and the foursome soon incorporated drummer Branden Murray. Whereas On Blast was a rock-inspired dance group, the addition of Murray made the Spell a dirty, blues-based rock band with electronic undertones.

There's a little bit of everything on the band's 11-song debut, Ha Ha Vwah Lah. Tracks like "Fireside" and "Use You Like I Used To" weave hypnotic rhythms with Brown's ethereal vocals. Songs like "Never Hurt You" and "Life is Heavy" feature pulsating grooves sure to get the House of Blues' dance floor moving when the quintet celebrates the release of the work tomorrow night.

The Spell performs tomorrow night, March 29, at the House of Blues with Dirty Diamonds, So & So, We Are the Arsenal and Chase Jordan. - LA Weekly


"The Spell: Long Beach's Hard Partiers Have Fun Stories to Tell"

The last time I saw the members of The Spell, they were drinking tequila and bowling on a Thursday night. That was before the party celebrating Spell guitarist Andy Kiddoo's birthday moved to Fern's, the Long Beach dive where Spell singer Josh Brown was nearly escorted out of the bar for harassing the karaoke jock to play a Bob Dylan song for him and Kiddoo to duet on. The KJ swears he called their names, but I was there--and stone sober--and I didn't hear it either. Just sayin'.
So maybe you've never heard of this hard-partying Spell band from Long Beach, the one that combines blues riffs with hip-hop beats and pulsating basslines with ethereal melodies. Or maybe you have and just don't know it as Kiddoo, Brown and bassist/new father Tone Blair played in On Blast, a group I always claimed was the best in town. Something happened with On Blast that forced the name change and new beginning, but what that something is will have to remain a mystery because the members aren't talking. What we do know is the Spell also includes drummer Branden Murray and guitarist Steve M. - OC Weekly


Discography

HA HA, VWAH LA (2012)

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Bio

Hailing from Long Beach, California The Spell has quite the decorated career within the Los Angeles music scene. Formed From the ashes of another prominent Long Beach Band (On Blast) in 2010, The Spell didn’t skip a beat before landing shows at some of Los Angeles’s premier live music hotspots. Genre placement has always been a grey area for The Spell, they have hop-scotched seamlessly through just about every possible genre and combination there of. A sound easily recognized by there fans, compliments their trancelike theatrical Stage presence. You can expect to hear an orchestra of pounding sequences layered with live drums, Guitars and keys led by melodic sometimes psychedelic vocals. Regarded by many Los Angeles music critics to be ‘LA’s best kept secret’ once you hear them you’ll forever be put under The Spell.