Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Girls’

Sightings: U.S. Girls: “If These Walls Could Talk”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Word on the street is that U.S. Girls mastermind Meghan Remy recently relocated to Mississippi, and that she has a new split coming out with Toronto’s Slim Twig, the stage and screen persona of musician/actor/alt celeb Max Turnbull. “If These Walls Could Talk,” which may or may not be thematically related to the ’90s dramatic film, channels flashes of ’60s bubble gum and psychedelic tribalism through her signature tunnel of warpage, which seems to have a lot to do with the effect that she uses on her voice. This one, however, sounds a whole lot more hi-fi than any thing I’ve heard from her before– and perhaps a bit more charging.

U.S. Girls: “If These Walls Could Talk”

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Words: Emilie Friedlander

U.S. Girls/Slim Twig split 12″ drops June 20th in Europe, and August 16th in North America. Grab it from FatCat sister imprint Palmist Records. Check Altered Zones for dates for Ms. Remy’s upcoming tour with Brooklyn’s Noveller.

Sunday Brunch Takeover: The Nonhorse / Sun Araw Episode

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Last week, “Sunday Brunch with Chocolate Bobka” on Newtown Radio was home to a DJ coup d’état. I wish I could say that the Underwater Visitations team staged a veritable DJ hold-up (in the manner of Horsemouth in the film Rockers, Reggae patois and all), but the reality of the situation had nothing to do with musico-political resistance, and everything to do with scheduling conflicts. Though no omelets or mimosas went into making of this episode, Ari and I had a full plate indeed — so much so that we stretched our two-hour repast into three and a half.

Cameron Stallones of Sun Araw delivered an inspirational virtual DJ set from sunny Los Angeles, aptly entitled “Sunburn City: Heads Up High.” Over Gchat, Cameron described the mix to me as the soundtrack to a “lazer lazy day”: “it starts all dewy, and then it gets mad sunburnt.” I’m not so sure what Sunburn city is, but apparently the photo above — which Cameron provided in the way of visual accompaniment — shows all the people who are waiting in line to get there. I probably should have asked him to tell me a little more about the place when he called into the station from the side of the road — not to mention his thoughts on Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Soviet mystic mathematician PD Ouspensky, whom he seemed intent upon discussion before the show– but we did end up having a pretty fascinating discussion on triangles, hairless dogs, and Hubble 3D.

Just when we were about to pack up for the day, G. Lucas Crane of Silent Barn, Woods, and Nonhorse fame rolled up with his mobile tape-manipulation dashboard and spilled about a hundred hand-labeled tapes onto the floor. Shortly thereafter, he dove into a hour-long mash-up of sounds as widely varied as Indian Raga, a “How to Feel Good Without Drugs” self-hypnosis cassette, and a tape he recorded while watching at home and jamming along to it on a synthesizer. The resulting performance — which you can hear at the tail end of the episode below — was frenetic enough to provoke a small seizure. But like any instance of sensory overload – listening to every FM station on the dial at once, for example — if you let the whole thing wash over you in one long continuous wave, you’ll probably end up feeling pretty blissed-out.

“Sunday Brunch with Chocolate Bobka Takeover: The Nonhorse / Sun Araw Episode”

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Download the entire episode here.

Playlist after the jump.
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Underwater Visitations Episode #4: The Big Troubles Episode

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Live, Big Troubles kick up such a sandstorm that it’s hard to remember that the band began as a bedroom recording project — or, rather, two separate bedroom recording projects, two hermetic hearts that began beating as one when high school buds Alex Craig and Ian Drennan got together last summer and decided to start a band. When the duo rolled up to Newtown Radio last Thursday, the station — recently fitted with a deluxe leather couch and a fridge filled with junk food and sodas — felt homey enough to bring us back to the days when the guitar-playing and songwriting half of Big Troubles had yet to round out into a full rock line-up.

Alex and Ian played out of the same guitar amplifier, sung out of the same mic, and babbled away in the kind of half-English vernacular you probably remember sharing only a few times in your life with one or two very close friends. They couldn’t seem more like two peas in a pod — which is why I was slightly disconcerted when, following the set, Alex presented us with a hand-drawn Venn diagram designed to represent their friendship: two giant circles labeled “Alex” and “Ian,” with only a tiny sliver of overlap at the center. I can’t remember what they said the middle part represented, but I think it had something to do with food. Whatever the reality of the situation may be, I like to think of the Venn diagram as a nice metaphor for the way their instruments interact in the episode you hear below: two runaway orbs of screaming guitar noise, colliding here and there into the shape of a song. At times they overlap a little too much, sharpening into points of feedback — but that’s kind of where the magic begins.

For those of you who tuned in for the first hour of last week’s show and were a little freaked out to discover a rambling discussion between a man with a heavy French accent and a panel of small children, please be cautioned: we don’t know why or how, but Underwater Visitations was hacked! Luckily, we were able to rescue the true-blue episode from the Newtown Radio archives — including a first hour of jams by Ari Stern and yours truly, and a Big Troubles-spun spool of semi-mainstream ’80s gold, which we proudly did not decide to censor.

“Underwater Visitations Episode #4: The Big Troubles Episode”

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Download the entire episode here .

Playlist after the jump.
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Sightings: U.S. Girls, “Lunar Life”

Monday, May 10th, 2010

When you churn out heartbreaking pop gems about as effortlessly as you pour your morning cereal, drowning each and every one of your creations in an electrical storm’s worth of static somehow feels like an act of humility. I can never tell exactly what Philadelphia’s Megan Remy is singing about in her songs — or whether she is singing as “Megan Remy,” or some other creature entirely — but I never fail to feel touched by the distance she inserts between us, as though I were listening to someone sing to me in Yodel language from the bottom of a desert canyon. In “Lunar Life,” the title track of the U.S. Girls 7″ that drops on Atelier Ciseaux on the 15th of this month, she stretches this distance as far as the moon, narrating a microscopic high school slow dance for the handful of organic molecules that reside there. I’m pretty sure she’s really singing for the lone microbe left crying outside in the parking lot — but given the sheer dimensions of the equation, she might as well be singing to us.

U.S. Girls, “Lunar Life” (Lunar Life 7 inch, Atelier Ciseaux)

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Sightings: Fingered DVDZine #6: Art and Music from Philadelphia

Monday, May 10th, 2010


The sixth edition of Fingered Media‘s biannual DVDzine sat pretty on my coffee table in its purple canvas pouch for a good two weeks before I got around to watching it — mostly because I knew that I couldn’t get away with letting it play in one window while juggling emails, Gchat, Facebook, and Twitter elsewhere. Having successfully set aside an hour or so yesterday evening to watch it from start to finish, I am reminded that devoting your complete an undivided attention to something — here, a spotlight on the art and music of a particular generation in a particular time and place — can leave you feeling much fuller than scattering your attention between one here and now and a hundred theres and thens, as people of this century are wont to do. Following previous sojourns into the cultural nether-regions of Los Angeles, Montreal, Mexico, and the Bay area (among other North American vicinities), videomaker Harrison Owen (and Fingered media main-man) turns his anthropological mind’s eye on Philadelphia, whisking us through galleries, DIY concert venues, image portfolios, and even the interior of one artist’s own home (Megan Remy of U.S. Girls).

Co-curated by artist Damien Weinkrantz, DVDZine #6 is much more show than tell. Rather than talk us through every step of the journey, Owen focuses on evocative combinations of sound and image — using a swampy electro-acoustic vignette by Mincemeat or Tenspeed, for example, as the “score” for a montage of fantastical monsters by Christopher Klein. Ultimately, this approach can only leave us with a sense of the extent to which the two seem to go hand in hand in this particular cross-section of the Philadelphia underground, with harsh noise and puffed-up cartoon satire swinging jubilantly on the same high voltage wire.

Those of us for whom Philadelphia represents nothing more than a destination on a MySpace calendar will get a sense of what it might actually be like to live and breathe and sweat inside this sweltering backyard neon fantasia. We hang with Megan Remy on her front porch as she reminisces about being paid $100 a night to cook dinner for a rich glassblower, then catch a glimpse of a Kung-Fu Necktie poster on the ground as she gives us a tour of her bedroom recording studio. We behold the slant of the light at a musty basement show, and marvel at how strangely familiar it all seems. What’s the use of meta-narratives, anyway? Philadephia feels so vivid here we can almost smell it through the screen.
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