I am obsessed with this Purity Ring album at the moment. Montreal has been avant in the last 18 months or so, way-way avant. The first one to blow-up was Grimes, who I love for this video and this statement (caps mine):
“MONTREAL IS A LOT OF OLD-SCHOOL ART,” she says. “IT’S NOT THAT THOSE PEOPLE AREN’T TALENTED, BUT I’M INTO TECHNICAL RENAISSANCE PAINTING. I’M INTO CREATING SOMETHING THAT’S STRAIGHT-UP GORGEOUS. CUBISM IS JUST NOT THE SAME.”
The next member of the Quebecois cabal is Elite Gymnastics. I paid a guy 20 bucks to carry around a boombox and play this song every time I walk into a room. Then when I leave he plays this one, and I walk out backwards doing the robot. Best money I ever spent.
Sadly, those albums/EPs have been hit or miss. Grimes has moments of brilliance, and then she’ll give you 3 tracks of indecipherable screeching. Way, way avant. Elite Gymnastics haven’t released a real album yet.
Purity Ring have, though, and it’s great. It’s great to ride around to, and it’s good background music for the house. The production is original but owes a lot to a few rap producers I could name – I’ll say Toomp in particular, because I don’t think he gets enough credit for how bass-heavy songs are these days. Most of the beats could comfortably fit 2 Chainz or Drake on as features. But the songs stand alone. They juxtapose harsh, banging hip-hop beats with a fragile female voice. They push you away and beckon you to come closer. They clang and crash, and purr. The song at the top is eons old by indie-music standards – it was released in early 2011. But it is still, for my money, the best and most focused thing they have done. I’m glad they decided to keep it around for the legitimate release.
The album was released in summertime and I’ve just recently gotten around to giving it a real listen, as I generally do at the end of the year once my various gatekeepers have done all the hard-work for me, sifting through all the bullshit and weird-for-weird’s-sake effluvia to find the few things that are actually worth listening to. I keep finding elements I like. “Ungirthed” never got a proper video, but the videos for the newer songs are inscrutable and comfortably strange, the way they should be. The lyrics are hard to make out at first, and then they grow. I was driving around listening to “Cartographist” at 4am the other night and saw love and death on every corner. I think they have something here.