Grimes
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Grimes

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Two new videos from like-minded Montreal homies Grimes + d’Eon, for songs taken from their new split 12?, Darkbloom. Grimes gets down in her clip for “Vanessa,” then she eats d’Eon’s hair in his awesomely bizarre vid for ’90s-R&B-leaning smooth jam “Transparency.” Both videos directed by, and starring, Grimes: - Gorilla Vs. Bear


On her side of Darkbloom, a split 12" with fellow Montrealer d'Eon, Claire Boucher of Grimes sounds like a pop star from a distant planet-- distant enough that "pop star" is an unfamiliar concept there, but close enough to intercept earthly radio signals and press some bootlegs of Mariah Carey's no. 1s. Boucher's music draws upon a diverse collection of influences (Panda Bear, Salem, Alicia Keys) as she experiments with eerie loops and a stratospheric falsetto. (She says that while recording last year's otherworldly Halfaxa, she "practiced" singing in four octaves by listening to Mariah's "Heartbreaker".) While Grimes' previous work found her burying her poppier inclinations beneath dense atmospherics and moody textures, her material on Darkbloom melds all of her impulses into a coherent and confident sound, resulting into some of her strongest tracks to date.

For Grimes, Darkbloom comes on the heels of a prolific 2010. She released two solid LPs: the melodic and intimate debut Geidi Primes, and the darker, more unified Halfaxa. The latter could be classified as bubblegum macabre; songs like "Weregild" and "Sagrad ??????????" somehow suggested the skeletons from Daft Punk's "Around the World" video singing Tiffany songs on karaoke night. I liked Geidi Primes even better, a record that filtered the confessional intimacy of lo-fi bedroom pop (as on the standout track "Rosa") through influences including dubstep to synth pop. Boucher's tendency to throw everything in the pot occasionally came off as a lack of unity, but I found its aesthetic miscellany to be one of her debut's charms. "Everybody thinks I'm boring," she sang in a mock-confessional tone on "Zoal, Face Dancer"-- a sentiment that nobody who heard the record could possibly agree with.

Darkbloom, though, announces Grimes' arrival as an avant-pop force. This is largely thanks to the single best song she's ever done, "Vanessa", which channels Lykke Li by way of a blissed-out Donna Summer reverie. "Crystal Ball", perhaps her most upbeat song yet, is also a stunner. Both tracks display a new, cleaner aesthetic for Grimes-- lushness instead of grain, beats that thump rather than pulse, vocals high and clear in the mix. Still, something else entirely makes Grimes unique. There's an eerie, supernatural undercurrent to these songs, and the moody instrumental pieces that surround them.

Chris d'Eon's side of the split, which follows last year's LP Palinopsia, isn't without highlights. His best track is the wistful, R&B-tinged "Transparency", a song about the uneventful sex lives of ghosts. Inspired by his longtime interest in Tibetan music, d'Eon figures himself in the Eastern symbol of the hungry ghost, a specter who's back from the beyond just to see his lover's face. Incidentally, not as great as it sounds: "Do you want be human? Do you want to make love again? I guess that's just the price you're gonna have to pay for transparency." Over the chorus' icy, arpeggiated synths, he comes to the logical conclusion: "Doing this was a big mistake."

In spite of d'Eon's weaker material (like the skittish and schmaltzy "Thousand Mile Trench") his tracks might have made a decent EP, but either way the two sides of Darkbloom don't work particularly well together. Following Grimes' tracks, which favor mood over story and transcend any particular emphasis on lyrics, d'Eon's half feels overly literal and tethered to the material world: His hungry ghost is left searching for a body to inhabit, while Grimes sounds altogether liberated from hers. Undoubtedly, Boucher hits the highest notes on Darkbloom, proving over the course of just five tracks that she's blossoming into a promising artist-- and one who's developing almost more quickly than we can keep track of. "I've moved far beyond that," she's already remarked of this material in a recent interview with Dummy. "I'm working on a full-length, which I kind of feel is my first album." And as the only complaint I've got with her side of Darkbloom is that it's too short, this is indeed cause for excitement.

— Lindsay Zoladz, May 19, 2011 - Pitchfork


We were going to write about someone called Destroyer today until a reader kindly (actually, sternly) pointed out that the musician, an alias for Dan Bejar, has been going for yonks, even if he – the reader, not Bejar – is probably the only person in the UK to have heard of him. Shame, though, because according to Pitchfork his new album, Kaputt, totally supports our otherwise half-baked theory that, as per Jensen Sportag and the new Toro Y Moi album, there are concerted efforts afoot among young players to make smooth, almost jazzily dexterous and super-polished playing cool for the first time, like, ever – said Pitchfork review contains references to Sade's Diamond Life, Roxy Music's Avalon and Steely Dan's Gaucho. Say no more.

So we hastily scrabbled around for something sensational with which to replace Destroyer – because, contrary to what some people believe, every attempt is made on a daily basis up here to find a new band that will stun and amaze – and what do you know: at the 11th hour (the 13th, to be precise, if you use the 24-hour clock), we were told about this Canadian musician and visual artist who self-released a record last year that "people who like Nite Jewel and Sleep Over will fall head over heels in love with", who uses "luscious vocals, chopped and warped beats, and a general mood of beautiful disorder and disarray", and who is issuing a new EP's worth of material in April.

OK, so let's check: did we like Nite Jewel when we covered her for New Band of the Day in 2009? Yup, we sure did. And Sleep Over? Hmm, not sure about that one.

Boucher aka Grimes does indeed make music worthy of inclusion alongside the wondrous Nite Jewel and Sleep Over in that it is mysterious and allusive, ethereal and electronic, sometimes harsh and textured and tough, but always supremely accessible even at its most atonal. The songs on her 2010 Geidi Primes album often cram four, maybe five, ideas into one track, but her ghostly vocals add a pop patina just as things get jagged. Venus in Fleurs is like Julee Cruise on Mogadon, Dragvandil is Diamanda Galas goes dubstep, and Swan Song recalls Cranes, and you should recall Cranes at least once a year because they were startling and sublime, as is Grimes.

This is outer-limits pop that answers the question, can you be simultaneously eerie and cute? It is music made by someone not allergic to ideas, in a tiny bedroom inhabited by a true artist with an imagination of considerable size and scope. And we haven't even heard the new EP yet – a split-EP with fellow experimental Canuck D'Eon – because the PR didn't manage to send us the SoundCloud link in time, but no matter because the titles – Orphia, Vanessa, Crystal Ball, Urban Twilight, Hedra – put the "icing" into enticing, and the "oh!" into disorder and disarray. - The Guardian


"...more ethereal, eerily moving outerspace transmissions from Montreal’s amazing “cosmic-pop deity” Grimes, who’s firmly established herself as one of our favorite new artists of 2010." - Altered Zones


"...an essential go-to late night jam. Some of these songs immediately bring to mind Nite Jewel's warped, distant bedroom dance-pop, but Boucher gets pretty dark and exceedingly weird at times, occasionally recalling Paavoharju's gorgeous, hauntingly fleeting otherworldly transmissions" - Gorilla vs. Bear


"Geidi Primes is music you’d expect to come bubbling up out of dark, dirty water. The extreme low-register undulating that opens “Caladan” is as much felt as heard. It’s a sound pushed down beyond pitch and into seismic rumbling, a sort of indescribable palpating. Boucher has created music that feels like she’s pushed her finger into your chest cavity and is wiggling it around." - Cokemachineglow


"Geidi Primes is a landmark album of modern Canadian fringe, an assemblage of space-station pop memorabilia teleported from a time-static nether-zone beyond the scope of our earthly understanding." - Weird Canada


Discography

Geidi Primes (2010)
Halfaxa (2010)
Darkbloom (2011)

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Bio

Grimes is weird pop influenced by styles such as R&B, Industrial, goth, hip hop and Western medieval organum. She is noted for simple but strong percussion, vocal virtuosity, and addictive melodies. Despite having little acquaintance with music before the age of 18, Grimes (22) has overcome this barrier and used it to her advantage, exploding onto the music scene with a sound that is that is far different from that of her peers, and extremely broad in it's references (Mariah Carey, Salem, Cocteau Twins, Gang Gang Dance, The Smiths, Prince). And yet, while all Grimes songs are different and genre-bending, there is a strong sound that is fully her own, characterized primarily by her chameleon-like voice.
She cannot read music and has no understanding of theory or notation, so her attempts to imitate often fail. Rather, the result is particularly unique, strangely beautiful, sometimes scary, frequently melancholic and catchy as hell.