Friday, October 26, 2012
U.S. Girls Gem
U.S. Girls Gem This record seems to have emerged from a dream I had falling asleep watching a horror movie as the stereo switched from Phil Spector to Roxy Music. The sound of this record. The Sound is overwhelming and disorienting at first, and finding your path takes multiple trips. The Phil Spector box set fed through a delay petal and the almost familiar but befuddling sounds of those Sublime Frequencies pop compilations are what I am initially presented with. Then “Jack” comes on. This is a song the Portland band Danava would play in the middle or end of their Hawkwind/Goblin channeling sets and it would always grab attention. It seemed to materialize from an alternative reality 1970’s where T Rex composed music for Dario Argento movies. It turned out it was written by their associate Brock Robinson in the 90’s. Here the gender is reversed for this creepy glam stomp about someone dreaming they were Jack the Ripper but maintaining a ghostly, glamorous menace. The sound of the record than mutates and reminds rather than resembles Eno’s Green World, Nico’s Marble Index, those Cure albums with the blurry covers, Roxy Music, T Rex, Twin Peaks soundtrack, Conet Project, Royal Trux’s Twin Infinitives, and Young Marble Giants, the oldie “Boondocks” is almost redeemed along the way which is something, and then it all concludes in the glam piano ballad “North on 45”. This is music leaked in from the other side of the mirror. A world of ruined and threatened glamour, ghostly murmers, radio transmissions, and failing light. A world that may only exist as this album plays. Lots of powerful and singular woman musicians have risen out of the pysch/drone/noise underground over the last decade or so with impressive bodies of work. Grouper, Fursaxa, Valet, Inca Ore and others have provided innovative recording and performances that have expanded or concept of music. It’s of course slightly sad and reductive that I have to lump U.S. Girls in with these musicians just because they are all woman cutting their own swath through these sounds but other critics already have and I say they fit together comfortably. Gem may be the most consistent album that any of this generation has produced though. Time will tell. Disclaimer: When Megan the singular member of U.S. Girls lived in Portland, I was in two bands with her. Two bands that will never be mentioned in a U.S. Girls review.