Exclusive Track Premiere: ‘Love Soldier,’ Magic Wands

Originally titled “1964/Love Soldier” during its demo phase, the latest track from dream-pop duo Magic Wands (Dexy and Chris Valentine) became “Love Soldier” as it “evolved into a six-minute song with an extended ending where I sing ‘He was a love soldier,'” Dexy says. Premiering below, the song retains lo-fi, psychedelic elements of the ’60s—reflecting inspiration found in The Doors and a friend who had lived in Jim Morrison’s old studio—and also marks the first release from Magic Wands’ forthcoming sophomore album Jupiter (out February 26 via Cleopatra Records). “The album is its own planet and the songs are the moons surrounding it,” Dexy explains. “‘Love Soldier’ is one of them.'”

Dexy’s friend who had lived in Morrison’s studio eventually moved to a mansion on a hill in Laurel Canyon. The songwriter went to visit her friend one day, and didn’t return for four months. “I would sit at this local café and drink tea and write,” she says. “I came up with a lot of lyrics, which turned out to be a story about going back to the ’60s when music felt alive and had soul, when it inspired a sense of freedom and love in the community.” The atmosphere of being surrounded by nature and mountains, with wildlife running around the mansion’s yard, also served as a point of inspiration. “The place had a very haunting and witchy vibe,” the songwriter continues.

Over the course of three days and joined by Tommy Alexander on bass and Keith Crutchfield on drums, Dexy and Chris recorded and self-produced Jupiter, an ambitious follow-up to 2012’s Aloha Moon. “In a lot of ways, it’s the opposite of Aloha Moon,” Chris says. “It’s more spontaneous, the music is live, and nothing is locked down to a ‘grid.'” Featuring many first takes of drums, guitars, and bass, the album marks a shift in Magic Wands’ sound, but one that exemplifies the band’s musical growth and confidence. “When we started out, so much was happening so fast. We were just a two-piece with backing tracking,” Dexy continues. “We feel a lot stronger and confident having a solid band, where everyone is playing their instruments—even the older songs sound better this way.”