Holy Fawn’s Death Spells sorta arrived from out of nowhere last year, like a strong wind or sensation of deja vu, and once it appeared, it was impossible to ignore. The Arizona band had self-released the album in the middle of September, I must have come across it a month or so later, and by the time we got to December, Death Spells was very close to the top of my AOTY ballot. It was a revelation — the type of radically exciting discovery of an impossible object that tends to occur only in dreams. It was included on Stereogum’s list of 2018’s 50 Best Albums, and I wrote about it there:
If Denmark’s Møl are The State Of Blackgaze Today, then Arizona’s Holy Fawn are The Ghost Of Blackgaze Future. And yes, that should sound scary, because holy fuck, Holy Fawn do too. Listening to Death Spells is like wading into a secluded lake, midnight, mid-winter. The body is overcome by an indescribable chill. Neither pain nor numbness but pure sensation. The mind spins, separates, sees from impossible vantages. It witnesses water, air, breath … even darkness itself. It is all so beautiful. And these sounds? As familiar as the letters in one’s own name, but nobody ever arranged them this way. Is this how ghosts hear music? If so: Why are you hearing it this way, too?
Look, it’s hard to meaningfully describe any music in 100-word capsules, and if you’re tasked with capturing Holy Fawn in such confines, you might as well just write a koan, because there are truly no recognzable reference points. Their music is just massive, at every turn and in every respect, and it feels like it evolved in an alternate dimension and manifested in this one. Death Spells is amazing and if you’re reading this, I implore you to listen.
I’ve watched the band’s profile grow little by little every day since I found them — because every day, it seems, somebody new finds them — and it’s only going to get bigger from here, because Death Spells is now getting a “proper release” via Triple Crown Records. I’m not sure exactly what a “proper release” entails, except that the label’s announcement today came accompanied by a new video for album track “Dark Stone,” giving me a new opportunity to write about Holy Fawn on Stereogum. But … what can I say? “Dark Stone” is a godlike piece of music. It was one of my 10 Favorite Songs Of 2018. It is one of the 10 best songs on Death Spells. It sounds every bit as extraordinary, gigantic, and immersive today as it did the first time I heard it. Maybe more so. Maybe today will be your first time hearing it. Maybe today you will find Holy Fawn. If so, today is a great day. Here’s the soundtrack:
Death Spells is out now via Triple Crown. West coast tour dates here:
03/28 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
03/29 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
03/30 San Diego, CA @ Space
03/31 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
04/03 San Jose, CA @ Ritz
04/04 Oakland, CA @ Elbo Room
04/05 Eugene, OR @ HiFi Music Hall
04/06 Portland, OR @ High Water
04/07 Seattle, WA @ Vera Project