Archive for the ‘Crystal Stilts’ Category
The Crystal Stilts had a solid release in Alight of Night, (reviewed by me) and I got to catch them live opening for Love Is All. Pretty much their performance was strong at first but got old fast with the lead singer rocking back slightly with his eyes closed for most of the performance.
Anyway, while the Crystal Stilts are part of Pitchfork’s love affair with the city of Brooklyn they released a Love Is Wave single which comes as a B-side. The song clocks in as an acute 1:59. It’s pretty easy to see why this ended up as a B-side since it’s a bit of a different style. Love Is A Wave begins with their typical style then quickly reverts to a high energy pop song. It’s a nice contrast to vocals which are sobering and slow paced.
Still at two minutes it barely qualifies as a track but on an album, I could see it fitting in between Prismatic Room and The Sinking. The song does seem like it’s on a sugar high but it’s a welcome sound to keep the Crystal Stilts from going stale.
3.75 out of 5
Love Is A Wave by Crystal Stilts
I forgot to mention that these top songs are still very personal opinions despite trying to take as many suggestions of the rest of the writers. I’m not sure how people will respond to the list, numbering isn’t quite as important as inclusion. I like taking suggestions as there will be millions of tracks I likely missed. As is the goal with this list, 10-limit descriptions included.
#51 Creator by Santogold w/ Switch and Freq Nasty (myspace/video -unofficial was canceled?)
The intro is risky, brave and wildly effective.
#52 Crystal Stilts by Crystal Stilts (myspace)
A song should be good if it’s your band name.
#53 I Wish I Could Keep You by Little Pictures (myspace/live)
This song makes me wish I was a kid again.
#54 In The Kitchen by The Pomegranates (myspace/live -poor visual quality)
A song I want to play on the guitar.
#55 Never Miss A Beat by Kaiser Chiefs (homepage/video)
The kids on the street, are scary! Shiiet.
#56 Death To The Los Campesinos! By Los Campesinos! (myspace/video)
“I’ll be control-alt-deleting your face with no reservation”.
#57 Marry Me Annie by Matthew and The Arrogant Sea (myspace)
Hey Annie, I’m serious, MATAS is a great band.
#58 Whiite Fantaseee by Slim Twig (myspace)
How about an Asian fantaseee?
#59 Dance Dance Dance by Lykke Li (myspace/live with Bon Iver)
Lykke Li’s hips lie and she’s shy. I’m in love.
#60 Galaxy Of The Lost by Lightspeed Champion (myspace/video)
Emmy The Great makes this song gold. Weird video.
#61 Skinny Love by Bon Iver
Bon Iver should try BBW. Morbidly Obese Love anyone?
#62 Good Time by Brazilian Girls (myspace/video)
I just want to have a good time too.
#63 Can’t Shake It by Kate Miller-Heidke (myspace/video)
I can’t dance either though this song is danceable…
#64 New Soul by Yael Naim(homepage)
I’m a new ipod product with a new catchy song.
#65 Boneless by The Notwist (homepage)
Great song off a slightly disappointing album.
#66 Shadow Falls by Hello, Blue Roses (myspace/live)
Awesome duet, too bad they were bashed by Pitchfork.
#67 Get Better by Mates of State (myspace/video)
“Forget your politics for awhile”. 2008 was a tough year.
#68 Xavia by The Submarines (myspace)
The Submarines don’t let me down in this song.
#69 Home Sweet Home by Those Dancing Days (myspace/video)
A perfect holiday song.
#70 Not Your Savior by Peasant (myspace)
Peasant keeps it honest, leave him alone.
#71 Call It A Ritual by Wolf Parade (myspace)
I enjoy Spencer Krug’s metaphorical writing.
#72 Black Rice by Women (myspace/live)
Best Song that ends in a whimper.
#73 The Rip by Portishead (homepage/video)
#74 That’s Not My Name by The Tings Tings (myspace/video)
Wait..what is her name again?
#75 Gila by Beach House (myspace/live)
For all the hype Crystal Stilts has received, I was still much more interested in the headliner last Sunday. Allan and I had been set to ride this show in style, with free passes and all; except when we got there we were treated to a glaring frontdoorwoman, her evident distaste in our attempts at free entry, her insistence, “no, you’re not on the list,” before experiencing the heavy silence of a long-distance contact who never picked up his phone. Screw this, we decided eventually, and paid the thirteen bucks each.
There were some notable mentionables, of course, concerning the rough-and-mumble, Holy Grail reverb-heavy, Pitchfork-vogue sound of Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts: the decidedly deadpan American attitude of the frontman, whose hair fell precisely over his eyes, and their drummer who had recently departed from the equally trendy Vivian Girls, to start. And in fact, I liked the first few songs, thought Brad Hargett’s voice was buried in the mix just right. Thought the third number was okay too but sounded like something I had already heard. After the fifth, however, I had to admit, goddammit: every song sounded exactly the same to me. Was I deaf, or daft or something?
Frankie Rose left her tambourine taped to the drum during the entire set, and its timbre grew increasingly annoying after a while, falling out of time in parts. I looked around at the people moving with as much intensity as can be expected from Toronto indie audiences, which is not that much, frankly. (The rents are too high in this city; thusly, obviously, people can’t afford enough alcohol at shows and are not in as good a mood as they could be.) Nursing my beer, I wondered: what is the big deal with this band anyway, and waited for Love is All.
I had first heard about Love is All sometime after the release of their debut album Nine Times That Same Song, at a time when I was experiencing a deep affection for certain varieties of European music. I had befriended a cute Swedish girl while traveling in North Africa, who had introduced me to The Knife and Jens Lekman, and anything Scandinavian was a go. The intensity was the first thing I noticed about the act. Lead singer Josephine Olausson has a voice few can match; she can croon, she can yell, communicating the ambiguity of her lyrics, pitting levity against their gravity, with superb style. Markus Gorsh, the drummer, is a rhythmical machine, never missing a beat, while reading the others in the band perfectly, always. The guitarist Nicholaus Sparding’s angular style truly embodies the art-punk/indie rock monikers the band occupies, while Fredrik Eriksson’s saxophone adds a density to the sound which defies explanation.
Though their set barely cleared the forty minute mark, the band pumped out not-quite mega hits like “Wishing Well,” and “Felt Tip” (a fantastic track to save for the encore), and added a surprising and spirited rendition of Flock of Seagulls’ “I ran,” at which I nearly freaked out, turned to Allan, pumped my fists, and yelled, “Flock of Seagulls, man! Fuck!”
The Crystal Stilts are from Brooklyn and one of their members, Frankie Rose was a former member of the Vivian Girls. Other then that, I know very little about this band but I was given the chance to check out their album, “Alight Of Night” and I’ve gotten the chance to listen to it for the last few weeks.
Being the type to mention some type of general classification, Crystal Stilts make some sort of shoegaze-pop and the leadsinger sounds a lot like Stephen Merritt of the Magnetic Fields.
I am not sure if I’m a fan of shoegaze personally, however I do enjoy a lot of the blending on guitar effects and the vocal melodies of the lead singer. There’s an emphasis on the artistry of the musicians, which in this case is top notch.
While it’s not too difficult to see that some of these songs are quite simple in nature (aside from the guitar work/effects), a lot of the songs have a catchy nature to them right off the bat. The first song I really enjoyed was the self-titled track name, Crystal Stilts with a simple guitar riff and some keyboarding that kicks in half way make this a rather enjoyable song. My next favorite track is “Shattered Shine” which follows the same pattern for under 3 minutes. The next track I really liked was “Prismatic Room”, which I actually like for the vocals. The leadsinger (who I don’t know the name of so I just won’t get it wrong) does a great job here making an awesome noise-dream pop track.
There are many good tracks on this album and like my previous album review today, it again does not have as strong of a replay value as I would like. I was incredibly high on this album at one point, thinking that it may be a candidate for my top albums of the year but it came clear it’s a notch below that level.
I think one of the main reasons it doesn’t have a good replay value is that the tracks do a wonderful job of disguising a track that is simple in nature but sounds incredibly artistic initially. Still, to say they aren’t artistic at all is not justified in the least and they do make a decent album with some very good songs and at least made an attempt to experiment.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Good, not great.