Jan 272013

Earlier this week, Mr. Moderator admitted to a musical version of beer goggles: listening with his groin. On the thread, I reminded him of a conversation we had been having about an artist, and he responded,

The woman who’s videos you were sending me looked like jailbait. And I don’t like spiders and snakes! The music that woman was doing had some merit, as I worked to get myself back into my 22-year-old Kate Bush appreciating self, but there was a troubling line for me to get past.

Gentlemen and Ladies, I now admit to you my girl crush: Grimes.

I first heard about Grimes from Simon Reynolds. Mr. Royale and I had gone to hear him discuss his 2011 book, Retromania. Audience discussion led to questions about the future direction of popular music, and one of the artists he mentioned was Grimes and her “post-internet” music of a multitude of references.

I wasn’t swayed by the first few singles (to quote another wag, “Cranes with a laptop”). But then came the new album, Visions and this video:

Move over, Bjork, there’s another beautiful weirdo out there! Lady Gaga, here comes another stylista! She is a Mark Ryden painting brought to flesh.

Mr. Royale and I purchased Visions, and it’s been on constant play. While Mr. Moderator referenced Kate Bush, I don’t find Grimes’ vocals quite as histrionic as that other musical temptress. I’m reminded more of the vocal experimentation of Jane Siberry, Liz Frasier, Laurie Anderson, Minnie Ripperton, and Hello Kitty (if she had a mouth). She doesn’t just always sing in that “little girl lost” vocal style, and I’m mesmerized by the different ways she alters and layers her vocals.

And then there is the music. I hear Depeche Mode, OMD, Aphex Twin, Heaven 17, Dead Can Dance, Kraftwerk, and other industrial and Warp artists. The music is mostly synthesizer/electronic, but with some guitars, sirens, bells, and Medieval instrumentation thrown in for good measure. I like a great deal of dance music and electronica, so Grimes’ beats and sounds make me feel very happy. (“Visions” has become my go-to album for when I’m having a bad day.)

Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) is also interesting to listen in interview. Here she is in a 2012 interview with ABC:

She has a dance background. She is also a creator of visual art. And other interviews indicate she is trying to address some deeper issues.

Here’s another track off of Visions. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:


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