Wednesday, January 25, 2012
U.S. Girls on Calico Corp. Records
Got a couple of records in from a new label, Calico, from our neighbors to the north... Toronto, Canada to be exact. Founded by Meghan from U.S. Girls and Slim Twig, comes Calico Corp. Records...and the first two releases are singles from the co-founders. This isn't the first time they've been in close musical proximity, they recently shared a split 12" on Palmist Records...I've been a fan of U.S. Girls for a while now so I picked this one first to throw on the turntable.
I know it's going to be lazy to compare her to Zola Jesus again, but I really mean it as a compliment, after all they have a lot in common...a real dark aesthetic, melted electronics, using experimental rhythms and sounds. Both pull it off in a professional way, singing their damn heads off, obviously classically trained and turning that incredible vocal towards the more avant garde, pushing themselves musically...sure there's subtle differences, but they have to be listening to each other, and there's always room for more talent like this.
"The Island Song" from side A, has that overwhelming dread feel, dark repeated chords, her major classic vibrato ringing through here, and damn if it isn't almost so catchy and melodic I start to suspect it's got to be part of that glitch dance craze.... But it's impossible to mistake this for a dance party, there's just too many layers of darkness. Maybe it's that plodding drum machine, maybe the layers of tracks, the peaking out of her uncontainable vocal, but when she gets into that chorus...it doesn't matter, those things all go away. With nothing to support her but these imperfect electronics, and a warbly organ, she delivers an unsettling performance.
It's what I want every time I go back to listen to Siouxsie...she has her moments, but this is exactly the kind of update I've been looking for. Meghan is extending that line of goth, minimal history in a contemporary way that ends up better on the other side.
The vocal is effortless, just when you think she's trying, turns out that was just getting warmed up. This combination is perfect for 7" gold, bordering on too messed up to listen to all the time, a little scary even, and the unnatural sounds shouldn't add up to be this compelling of a tune...and that's when they really got you.
On the B-Side's, "High School Poetry" Meghan is pulling a melody out of these layers of DJ Shadow type collage loops with a theremin sounding whine. All these echo'd phrases sound like they're pulled off synth dance 12" remixes of all kinds, a channeled piano from the other side. Occasional vinyl scratching could remind you of those Portishead combinations. This one is a lumbering, punchy track, mixing up her operatic delivery with an almost staccato hip hop speed. It isn't full of hooks like the first side, just building a solid, equally as unsettling, nightmare.
Proof she's going to be able to create interesting results with literally anything.
Xerox collage black and white sleeve on blue cardstock with download card.
Suck up that shipping and get it straight from the source, Calico Corp. Records...along with the Slim Twig single...