Posts Tagged ‘U.S Girls’

4AD - Final Four 'Bills & Aches & Blues' Tracks Out Now

In 1980, a new British independent record label was christened Axis, but discovered after its first batch of releases that another Axis already existed, so a new name was necessary to avoid legal problems. New name: 4AD.

Now, 41 years after its inception, 4AD came up with the idea to celebrate the label’s glorious past with current artists covering a song of their choice from 4AD’s impressive catalogue of releases.

In 2020, 4AD Records turned 40 years of age. Never one to be on time for a party, the label is commemorating that landmark this year with the release of “Bills and Aches and Blues”. The compilation features 18 of its current artists covering a song of their choosing from 4AD’s past: a creative experiment rooted in the spirit of collaboration and a snapshot of 4AD, 41 years after its inception.

Bills and Aches and Blues’ includes 18 recordings contain fascinating connections between artist and track. The earliest song chosen (by U.S. Girls) is The Birthday Party’s Junkyard, from 1981; the most recent are the two Grimes covers (‘Genesis’ and ‘Oblivion’, respectively by Spencer. and Dry Cleaning) from 2012. Suitably, for the one band that bridges 4AD past and present, The Breeders are all over Bills And Aches And Blues. They’re covered three times – ‘Cannonball’ by Tune-Yards, ‘Mountain Battles’ by Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and ‘Off You’ by Big Thief, whilst The Breeders cover ‘The Dirt Eaters’ by their ‘90s contemporaries His Name Is Alive.

Bills & Aches & Blues features 18 of the label’s current artists covering a song of their choosing from 4AD’s past: a creative experiment rooted in the spirit of collaboration and a snapshot of 4AD . 

From 4AD’s 40th anniversary compilation Bills & Aches & Blues, SOHN does a double cover, taking on This Mortal Coil’s iconic, Liz Fraser-powered version of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren” and doing so in a very reverential manner.

Landmark songs such as ‘Cannonball’, ‘Song To The Siren’ and Pixies’ ‘Where is My Mind?’, will feel comfortable to casual fans, however by contrast, much joy can be found in the album’s surprise choices, such as Air Miami’s ‘Seabird’ and the Lush B-side ‘Sunbathing’, covered respectively by new signings Maria Somerville and Jenny Hval.

Bills and Aches and Blues is named, arguably (as Elizabeth Fraser never published the lyrics) after the opening line of Cocteau Twins ‘Cherry-Coloured Funk’. Perhaps too unique and uncoverable in their own right, their legendary take on Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’, under the name This Mortal Coil (along with Buckley’s pre-Starsailor acoustic version) informs SOHN’s cover.

Some tracks unearth hitherto hidden shared DNA, such as Future Islands’ and Colourbox’s ‘The Moon Is Blue’; other tracks are more akin to reinvention. Aldous Harding distils the melodic essence of Deerhunter’s ‘Revival’ and recasts it in her own uncanny image. U.S. Girls’ future-disco ‘Junkyard’ and Bing and Ruth’s neo-classical instrumental ‘Gigantic’ are even more radical interpretations. Leading off the album, Tkay Maidza brings both her Art Rap and R&B game, but also an unexpected ‘80s synth pop template, to Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’, a perfect title for these chaotic times.

TRACKLISTING:
Side 1:
01 Tkay Maidza Where Is My Mind? (Pixies)
02 U.S. Girls Junkyard (The Birthday Party)
03 Aldous Harding Revival (Deerhunter)
04 The Breeders Dirt Eaters (His Name Is Alive)
05 Maria Somerville Seabird (Air Miami)
Side 2:
06 Tune-Yards Cannonball (The Breeders)
07 Spencer. Genesis (Grimes)
08 Helado Negro Futurism (Deerhunter)
09 Efterklang Postal (Piano Magic)
10 Bing and Ruth Gigantic (Pixies)
Side 3:
11 Future Islands The Moon Is Blue (Colourbox)
12 Jenny Hval Sunbathing (Lush)
13 Dry Cleaning Oblivion (Grimes)
14 Bradford Cox Mountain Battles (Breeders)
Side 4:
15 SOHN Song To The Siren (Tim Buckley)
16 Becky and The Birds The Wolves Act I and II (Bon Iver)
17 Ex:Re Misery Is a Butterfly (Blonde Redhead)
18 Big Thief Off You (The Breeders)

Beggars Group Digital Ltd.

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U.S. Girls document the hypnotic quality of their live show with the intimate new “Time” video. Director Alex Kingswell takes a hands-on approach with the clip, filming Meghan Remy and her massive backing band side-stage during their sold-out performance 2018 at Canada’s Sappy Fest. The camera follows Remy as she dances, sings and steps out to a parking lot during a lengthy instrumental jam.

“Time” appears on the latest U.S. Girls LP, the acclaimed In a Poem Unlimited, which was named in most magazine and bloggers top 10 best album of 2018. Remy aimed to push herself from art-pop into more accessible territory with In a Poem Unlimited. she detailed wanting to make “something that could be played in situations where thinking isn’t usually encouraged.” 

‘Time’ by U.S. Girls, from the acclaimed record ‘In A Poem Unlimited’, out now on 4AD

Priests

D.C. foursome Priests have followed up 2017’s Nothing Feels Natural with a special treat for superfans: three new versions of “Suck,” a saxophone-laced lament about someone who, well, sucks. “How can you tell that I always mean to be mean when you’re not even listening?” reads one tell-tale line from the song. The band noted on Instagram that they originally wanted this six-and-a-half minute version of the song to close out the record, instead of the four-plus-minute version that ended up there. This extended play is a definitively funkier mix. But the real treat here is basically a wholly new song: “Suck” as remixed by Meg Remy of U.S. Girls. Remy slows down the whole track, giving it a chopped-and-screwed makeover. Katie Alice Greer’s vocals are several pitches lower, accented by a funky horn riff and a repetitive, hypnotic dance beat. It’s a perfect offering for late-night summer dance parties.

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Released May 5th, 2018

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U.S. Girls were hands down one of the best bands seen at SXSW this year. On the heels of their eighth LP, In a Poem Unlimited (4AD), the Meghan Remy led band put down perhaps the best performance we’ve ever seen at the festival. Their mid-week set at Cheer Up Charlie’s had it all: A complex eight-piece arrangement (later in the week at Hotel Vegas, it would be a nine-piece), With fiery performances from every member of the band on every song and, best of all, Remy’s extravagant artistry. She was an impeccable bandleader on “Window Shades” and a benevolent disco diva on “Mad As Hell.” Remy and U.S. Girls have become a revelatory band cut from the same cloth as ABBA and Blondie, with a decidedly modern and avant-garde spin. Their appearances at this year’s festival ought to be bronzed and held up as a model for all future SXSW performers.

U.S. Girls - U.S. Girls Details New Album, Shares 'Woman's Work'

Meg Remy of U.S. Girls U.S. born, Toronto-based Remy releases her sixth album, the remarkably vibrant and lush In a Poem Unlimited, comes out via 4AD and Royal Mountain Records in a couple weeks. The first single is a funky disco tune called “Mad As Hell”… so she’s been asked about women, and anything about women currently, quite a bit. “It just so happens that right now a lot of the things I’ve been talking about for the past ten years of doing this project are all coming to a head in the mainstream consciousness,” she says.

Talking about #MeToo, is that it could quickly become a monetized and opportunistic hashtag, not at all what Tarana Burke intended. “The real interesting thing could be if #MeToo and feminism, and these kind of topics, could evolve another level where they start critiquing all the systems in place and how this relates to people of color, workers, [issues] across the board. While Remy is fine to ride for causes she’s been championing for years personally, it’s entirely another thing when her politics, especially in today’s discourse, are more prominently entangled with her art.

The second track to be heard from the album, ‘Woman’s Work’, debuts today, accompanied by another
hypnotic video directed and edited by Remy.  Following up on the release of the mutant dub of ‘Damn That Valley’ earlier this year, ‘Woman’s Work’ builds further anticipation and intrigue; Remy has delivered a nagging, arpeggio-laced stormer, picking away at the themes of beauty and neurosis, with a video that examines our collective paralysis in the face of ageing.

Her last record, was the critically acclaimed Half Free, was so searing in its portrayal of the female experience—of the Everywoman, as it were—that an expectation is there now for her to contribute going forward.

In A Poem Unlimited builds on and maintains a portrait of a more intimate self but it is a much fuller, ornate record. Remy sings about personally affecting, relatable experiences, like on “Pearly Gates,” a jazzy glam song that got its inspiration from an anecdote she’d heard about a man promising to pull out during sex. (“Peter bragged he was good at pulling out/ He always knew the right time to take a bow,” she sings.) On “L-Over,” reminiscent of a yesteryear pop break-up tune, with a swooping airy intro and horns, Remy sings, slyly, almost a smirk to cover the pain, “Can you imagine trying to get some satisfaction out of a stone?” Her music sounds plucked from 60s pop, a time so emboldened by innocence and nostalgia, While recording “Velvet For Sale,” Remy physically positioned herself in a contorted position for us to vocally hear what the character was going through; that breathy, quiet tone singing, “You’ve been sleeping with one eye open because he always could come back, ya know? And you’ve been walking these streets unguarded waiting for any man to explode.”

Remy’s goal on this record was to push herself out of her comfort zone. “It was more… about being in a studio and working with a band and challenging myself more that way—which was, you know, I’ve not much experienced the studio setting,” she says. “I’m not a technical kind of musician. I don’t really work in that way. Going into a studio with a lot of players who have the experience and know what they are doing was very intimidating.”

“I could never in a million years try to claim that I did all of this. I couldn’t,” she stresses. Remy worked with 20 people on this album. Her husband, Maximilian Turnball (also known as Slim Twig), contributed on the album.  Steve Chahley, her engineer and mixer, has production credits on a number of the songs. Kieran Adams from DIANA plays drums. Basia Bulat does vocals. Simone Schmidt of Fiver, whose devastating song “Rage of Plastics” Remy covers on the album, came in to help with the arrangement. Louis Percival, of Onakabazien, has writing and production credits too. Remy emphasizes her responsibility of being the owner of her own stories as a woman but it took a community to make this record and one she was happy to lean on and give credit to.

‘In A Poem Unlimited’, the new album by U.S. Girls, will be released on February 16th 2018 on 4AD Records

Ten years into her career as U.S. Girls, Meg Remy switches up her M.O. for In a Poem Unlimited, eschewing samples in favor of a full live band. She’s still pulling from ‘60s girl groups and R&B, but theres a real ‘70s vibe this time out, adding glam, glitter, disco and funk to her arty mix. (“Sed Knife” from 2016’s Half Free pointed in this direction.) Lyrically, Meg remains a potent voice of protest, mad as hell — literally in one case — and laying into the powers the be. Having road-tested the record with her new band late last year, this year’s tour should be as anticipated as the LP itself.

‘In A Poem Unlimited’, the new album by U.S. Girls, will be released on February 16th 2018 on 4AD Records:

'In A Poem Unlimited'

​2017 marks a decade of U.S. Girls, the protean musical enterprise of multi-disciplinary artist, Meg Remy.  Today, Remy announces details of her sixth studio album In A Poem Unlimited, which will be released on 16th February 2018, plus the video for a new U.S. Girls song, ‘Velvet 4 Sale’.

Remy’s second release for 4AD Records, which also includes her recently released single, ‘Mad As Hell’ – a clarion call for pacifism – was tracked in collaboration with Toronto-based instrumental collective the Cosmic Range, and features arrangements by long-time contributors Maxmilian Turnball and Louis Percival.  The dizzying buffet of live grooves on In A Poem Unlimited represents an inversion of the dusty, sample-based minimal textures of Half Free, Remy’s euphoric 4AD debut.  Steered into focus by Remy and mixer/co- producer Steve Chahley, Poem features disco employed as a protest vernacular (‘Mad As Hell’), as well as an unrelenting assault (‘Time’); moody, slow-burning funk (‘Velvet 4 Sale’ and ‘L-Over’) and earnest synth anthems ‘Rosebud’ and ‘Poem’, which form the album’s emotional core.

Song written by Maximilian Turnbull & Meg Remy. Contains elements from the composition entitled “Witch Hunt” written by J. Cameron. P

Following ‘Mad As Hell’, Poem album opener ‘Velvet 4 Sale’ is released today.  The song concerns a female narrator imploring another to buy a gun for protection, impressing that the only way to change men is for women to use violence.  Remy says, “Men are lucky women (and children) have yet to take up arms.  And although I hope this never happens and I completely disagree that violence is ever effective, this very idea was ripe for a song.”

In A Poem Unlimited’, the new album by U.S. Girls, will be released on February 16th 2018 on 4AD Records:

U.S. Girls  “Half Free” takes its battles inside and outside the nuclear family. When Meghan Remy tells her audience that her character will hang herself on the family tree, she means it. The protagonists exploring the record are those living lives considered antiquated, dealing with the impact of the second-shift (“Window Shades”) and eventually considering children to be foes (“Navy & Cream”). Instead of making an album that critiques the family dynamic and attacks conservative notions of what living means, Remy allows listeners to position themselves as the women in her album. It is an odd choice, considering that these characters don’t own themselves (“New Age Thriller”), but it is necessary to show how liberation is important. While Top 40 pop considers love flawless, Half Free locates conflicts within the presumptuously joyous subject. But Remy notes, with a hint of hope, that her conclusion will be that of a woman luxuriously sitting in a limousine.

Window Shades’ is the new single by U.S. Girls, from the album ‘Half Free’, released 25th September 2015

“The last track, ‘Women’s Work’, manages to Moroder its way right into my heart. Mostly all I’ve ever wanted is a synth that sounds like a violin and a big, long, messy wail over a tight and bombastic electro drumbeat. Hot as hell. Miserable, angry and weird. Seven minutes. Buy it for this one alone. Bargain