Crystal Castles-Affection (Video)

The last track I posted from their (III) album late last year is now the first video I’ve managed to give a go, with this arguably being my favourite song of the bunch (I’ve heard so far).

In comparison with their other works, it feels much more relaxed, assured and less frenetic; simply put, it doesn’t require a lot of brainpower to process. The same can probably be said for the video too. The clip is part-show footage, part-roaming around in the wilderness, with the former a nice blend of dark surroundings and bright light pulses, and the latter a more uneasy watch, particularly the unsettling character hanging around in the mask. It’s a good representation of the audio in that sense, capturing elements of its positivity in with the slightly darker, more atmospheric side of the production, whilst the video ties the whole package together with a grainy, CCTV-like filter, much like Alice’s vocals bind the audio’s distinct styles.

If you haven’t already, grab that (III) album now.

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Crystal Castles-Affection

Their upcoming (III) album is shaping up to be one of the best electro releases of the year, and here goes one final preview before it finally lands on 5th November.

A recurrent theme, somewhat paradoxically, has been the diversity of every release from the album. That trend continues into this effort, which is considerably more positive and upbeat than almost everything we’ve heard from the LP, courtesy of melodic and soft vocal work from Alice Glass and light yet sharp supporting synths. The pulsating nature of the latter creates a vibe of controlled freneticism (I’m a paradox machine today), whilst the ever-changing percussion moves the track across a few different styles, at points threating to break into a high-paced mainstream affair, and slowing down at others to focus on the vocals. A good track with plenty of dynamism, and be sure to grab that album on Monday.

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Crystal Castles-Wrath of God

Following on from their bizarre video for Plague, the duo let loose another single from their upcoming (III) album, and it’s another piece of gripping electronic music that will get listeners really going for that LP.

The production’s overall vibe is one of muted intensity. The synth work throughout is urgent and driving, yet the percussion remains subdued for the verses, before livening up for a hook with plenty of bounce but once again brings that ‘held down’ quality back via vocals from Alice Glass that are very much pushed into the background. It’s an interesting combination of styles that should give this a huge appeal; despite the unique production structure, the actual song structure is classic electro, with slow verses that build to a pulsating hook. Good work from the duo, and one that’s going to warrant many replays. Could do without the screechy ending though.

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Crystal Castles-Plague (Video)

Bizarre, disquieting and a whole lot weird.

And yet, oddly engaging. I found myself pausing it at 20 second intervals to have a break, but I’d still go back to watch more. The video essentially has its character undergoing some kind of possession or mental episode in a subway, throwing herself around viciously and generally being rather unusual. The interjection of a brief scene of what appears to be a flashback to her teaching ballet heightens this, as one of her students completely snaps mentally, something that’s never easy to watch. There’s are no unecessary layers of storyline. This is meant to be very uncomfortable viewing and that’s exactly what it is.

The audio is, by contrast, much more layered and makes for a good listen. Opening slowly and somewhat ominously, the track moves into a pulsating hook that seems to be firing synths out at a relentless rate, when in fact it isn’t: the sheer intensity of them is overwhelming, particularly when coupled with the ferocious visuals and sharp, distinctive vocals of Alice Glass. An audiovisual with a ton of uniqueness.

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Crystal Castles and Robert Smith-Not In Love (Sane Smith Remix)

I’m on the fence with this one. The original was a very enjoyable listen, and treaded that alternative and electro boundary comfortably, with injections and influence from both synergising into an addictive outcome.

However, this remix seems to really turn up that electro influence and warps the track into a loud, somewhat excessive effort. I like the idea of adding in more synths to fabricate more atmosphere, but it doesn’t feel very cleanly done and instead feels more experimental and cluttered, deviating a little too far from the original. Worth a listen for those with an accquired taste for the more eccentric side of dance/electro.

Crystal Castles-Not In Love ft. Robert Smith (Sane Smith Remix)

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Crystal Castles and Robert Smith-Not In Love

Originally found on Crystal Castles (II), they’ve managed to snare the frontman of The Cure to contribute his lingering vocals to a remix, set to be officially released in December.

I’m a fan of The Cure (Just Like Heaven is one of the all-time greats) so it’s great to hear Smith’s unmistakeable voice, especially when it works so well with this electronic style. Specifically, the verses contain a heavy retro influence on the production, and have an 80s sound that naturally works well with the veteran’s vocals. Shame that Alice Glass doesn’t duet with him on this to offer more diversity, but it’s a great track as it is.

Crystal Castles-Not In Love ft. Robert Smith

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Crystal Castles-Baptism Video

Pretty decent video for a great dance track. Alice Glass is placed in front of some random imagery behind her, some of which is actually pretty cool-pretty trippy seeing her dance behind herself!

Dedicated to the 5/6 of you that have this song etched in your memory from a certain pool party!

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Crystal Castles-Celestica Video

Visuals for the awesome track from Crystal Castles. Really liking this one, although I’ve not had the chance to watch the video for obvious football (soccer)-related reasons.

Audio is here, definitely one to check out.

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Review: May Alternative Tracklist

June is finally here and the weather has been strangely nice for the British summertime. However, before we get too carried away with what the exciting months ahead hold, come and take a quick look back over my pick of the best Alternative tracks to come out in May.

It was a pretty big month for Indie/Electro music, with new tracks from Portishead, Chemical Brothers and Crystal Castles, as well as new material from Arcade Fire finally hitting our ears! There have also been plenty of tracks from many a new band on the block, so you’d be daft not to check this out……

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Upcoming Live Performances In The Alternative Music Scene!!

If the latest gig review got you in the mood for seeing some live acts yourself over the summer; we’ve posted a couple of links below to take you to the right place to get tickets to see all of the ‘bands of the moment’ in the alternative music scene.

Tickets for Kele Okereke’s host of upcoming live performances go on sale on the 7th of May, and given the hype surrounding the impending release of The Boxer competition for tickets will be high! Get up early on the 7th (tickets go on sale at 9:00 AM) and be among the first to enjoy Kele’s appearances as a solo artist. Click here to go direct to the booking page.

Also, check out the other upcoming live tours from bands such as, Crystal Castles, We Have band, and Sarah Blasko (currently supporting The Temper Trap) by click on the link.

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Review: April Alternative Tracklist

As May rolls in and the summer moves closer, take a quick look back over my pick of last months Indie/Electro/Alternative-rock tracks that should be dominating your ears.

If you think that you’ve seen all that April had to offer, or just want some fresh acts to dig your teeth into, look no further and check out some awesome tracks and bands that may just have slipped in under the radar.
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Crystal Castles-Empathy

Crystal Castles weren’t meant to release their new album- the aptly named Crystal Castles (II), until mid-June. However, a premature internet leak of the album forced the band to bring forward its release date to late April, something for which I am wholly thankful, this album has dominated my life recently.

Although i’ve never been a huge fan of Crystal Castles, the new album completely took me by surprise at how much I liked its dark, twisted feel. This is the video for prospective single Empathy, and it perfectly sums up the warped aura that the music creates.

Download the music here.

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