Pure pop bliss: Beach Fossils, Craft Spells, and Melted Toys at Slim's


A lot of bands these days have been resurrecting the C86-like pop music sensibilities of the jangly guitar heroes from the 1980s and early '90s, either sounding familiar and welcome to some, or new and au courant to others, as in the past. Captured Tracks, a small label out of Brooklyn, New York, has a few such bands under its wing, two of which played energetic, danceable sets at Slim’s last Thurs/5 – Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils and Seattle’s Craft Spells. San Francisco’s Melted Toys completed the trifecta, opening the night with pure pop bliss.

The Beach Fossils headlined, transforming a breezy, surf-tinged recorded sound into an aggressively upbeat and kinetic live performance, turning Slim's into an all-out dance party. Now playing with bass, dueling guitars, and a full kit of drums, Dustin Payseur and company sounded full and lush, keeping things interesting while on the last leg of their U.S. tour. 

The Craft Spells' performance was a bit of a homecoming for singer-guitarist-songwriter and Stockton native Justin Vallesteros, whose family was in the audience. Backed by sparkly dream-pop melodies, his somber baritone invoked the spirit of Factory Records, yet was more inspired and less derivative than one might think.

Melted Toys also rely heavily on the '80s pop revival, yet stand apart from the bandwagon with a mellower, slightly more drugged-out sounding post-punk set than the show's headliners. They do "dreamy" without shoving it it your face, with a subtle and assured nod to their musical influences, creating perfect lazy day music.