U.S. Girls

U.S. Girls

Cones

Tue · March 6, 2018

8:00 pm

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 21 and over

U.S. Girls
U.S. Girls
This year marks a significant anniversary for U.S. Girls, the protean musical enterprise of multi-disciplinary artist, Meg Remy. 10 years ago Remy first used a 4-track recorder and a microphone to self-produce a series of spontaneous, starkly musical, ‘instant expressions’. These collisions of static, clang and sung melody seem in retrospect like a uniquely American display of minimalism, an unmistakably feminine counterbalance to Nebraska or Rev & Vega’s early sonic confrontations. In contrast, her latest work for 4AD and Royal Mountain Records, In A Poem Unlimited, Remy’s 6th album and 2nd LP for the label, was painstakingly crafted in multiple studios by a creative cast of 20+ collaborators. Remy traverses an immediate and increasingly politicized vision over the course of this decade of work. And while U.S. Girls, denoting the plural, is no longer a misnomer, In A Poem Unlimited may be Remy’s most individually distilled protest to date.

Opening with a dark, conga-infused drum break, lead-off track ‘Velvet For Sale’ establishes a moody, distinctly mysterious feel. If Half Free (Remy’s 2015 4AD offering) trafficked in dusty, sample-based textures, Poem represents an inversion of that instrumental formula; the non-sampled rhythms are themselves eminently sample-able. The newfound grooviness speaks to a central element of the new album’s collaborative spirit. All tracks save for two were performed by The Cosmic Range, an accomplished instrumental collective from Toronto, Remy’s adoptive hometown. Assembled by Matthew Dunn in 2014, The Cosmic Range is composed of some of Canada’s most accomplished improvisers, and includes longtime U.S. Girls producer / foil Maximilian ‘Twig’ Turnbull. The Range--whose eclectic combination of improvised psych, jazz, and propulsive dance music was first recorded on their 2016 New Latitudes debut (Idée Fixe)--is put to work here on a song cycle that is typically diverse for a U.S. Girls album. Remy is not content merely to establish a new sonic palette on successive albums. Instead she approaches each song as its own encapsulation, with the effect that her oeuvre is essentially genre-agnostic. On Poem, the buffet of sounds comprises a dizzying variety: disco, employed as a protest vernacular (‘Mad As Hell’), as well as an unrelenting assault (‘Time’); Remy’s beat-driven impulse, extended via The Cosmic Range’s vamping on hip hop producer Onakabazien’s produced loops (‘Incidental Boogie’ & ‘Pearly Gates’); moody, slow-burning funk, on the Twig co-writes (‘Velvet For Sale’ & ‘L-Over’); and forming the emotional core of the album, two earnest synth anthems, written in collaboration with D.C. based instrumentalist, Rich Morel (‘Rosebud’ & ‘Poem’).

As hectic as the stylistic detours may sound on paper, Remy and mixer / co-producer Steve Chahley will a consistent aesthetic into being, however multi-dimensional. With a voice as assured and engaged as Remy’s, track to track, one sees that genre-partisanship, in the contemporary music landscape, represents an irrelevantly conservative approach. The artist is intent on liberation both sonically and lyrically.

Poem features dark meditations reflecting charged atmospheres that directly precede and follow acts of violence. Many of the songs are character studies of women grappling with power; how to gain and exert it spiritually, as well as desperate strategies to mitigate its infliction. In ‘Pearly Gates’ a woman ingeniously decides to seduce St. Peter to assure heavenly entrance, to mixed effect, while in ‘Incidental Boogie’, a battered woman muses ironically that her partner’s abuse leaves so little physical evidence she can continue to show up at her job. Almost all of Remy’s lyrics seem to interrogate notions of morality, and the universal consequence of its deferment. As has so long been suggested in the artist’s work, action and inaction both have broad civic consequences. There is no escaping that the personal is entrenched in a political dimension and an acknowledgement of that may be the only liberator.

In an era of heightened turmoil, artists contend with a crossroads decision on cultural content, and how we engage with it as individuals. There is no shortage of media that lends distraction and offers a balm of comforting fantasy. For those, on the other hand, craving a thoughtful and probing inquiry into the iniquity of power, In A Poem Unlimited poses a substantial question; can you dance while you think?
Cones
Cones
Jonathan and Michael Rosen are brothers, and also Cones. Growing up in San Francisco, they were as close as could be – spending their free time eating cereal.

Jonathan was infatuated with pop music from day one. He cried when he realized Elvis was dead. He would build cardboard drum sets in his room and play along to the Bee Gees. In contrast, Michael had a technical and academic approach to music. Trained in piano and composition, he studied in the classical tradition, writing his first opera at the age of 16.

The two brothers are based in Los Angeles. Jonathan is an acclaimed hand-drawn animator. He has created music videos for such artists as Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger, and Delicate Steve. His rock and roll dream was born on the set of HBO’s Vinyl, when he played the role of Johnny Thunders. Michael is a commercial/film composer and experimental sound artist. His fiercely technical brain works in collaboration with his heightened ear to create beautiful and strange sonic environments.

Prior to starting Cones, the brothers played in the backing band for Eleanor Friedberger (of the Fiery Furnaces), helping to write and tour on her latest record New View. While on tour, Jonathan and Michael conceptualized a new project. One that would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush soundscapes and key-heavy orchestration. One that would rely on an entire lifetime of brotherhood – sounds that Jonathan could draw and images that Michael could hear.

In the spring of 2017, Cones released a music video (animated by Jonathan) for their debut single ‘Echoes On’ via The Fader. Two more singles titled ‘Back in the Brain’ and ‘Whatever You’re Into’ will be released in August 2017 via Canvasclub, Canvasback Music’s monthly singles series.
Venue Information:
Moroccan Lounge
901 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
http://www.themoroccan.com/