Release Date: Sep 25, 2015
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Experimental, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Experimental Rock, Noise Pop, Neo-Glam
The year was 2013. I’m a dude falling out of love with Animal Collective and one who didn’t think 2012’s GEM was any good. I was an idiot (w/r/t the latter) and, on top of things, completely oblivious to an exciting new phase of U.S. Girls being teased out with an EP called Free Advice Column ….
Despite offering a conceptual framework that could fill volumes of books on women’s studies, Half Free isn’t either didactic or persuasive. It focuses exclusively on women in distinct backdrops, some mundane and some profound, but never does it become too deep to digest, thanks to the inflexibility of its presentation. Meghan Remy has been at the helm of U.S.
For a certain type of person, only the apocalypse makes the inevitability of death legible. Such a synecdoche is not strictly solipsistic, though it resembles that philosophy. More accurately, one’s own death remains ever beyond comprehension, the outside context villain that determines the course of (a) human life. Contemporary eschatological thought concerns itself above all with the environmental collapse toward which the Earth surely spins, the flows of capital escalating the flows of glacial melt.
Illinois-born, Toronto-based Megan Remy has proven her dedication to lo-fi pop weirdness throughout her prolific career in U.S. Girls, but she has finally circled aesthetic perfection with Half Free. Helmed by producer Onakabazien, the knob-twiddler behind her Free Advice Column EP from 2013, and flavoured by contributions from Slim Twig, Ben Cook (Fucked Up) and Amanda Crist (Ice Cream), this is her most complete and, arguably, accessible album yet.In typical fashion, the sound is all over the map, deconstructing pop tropes from track to track, yet it feels as though everything has been refined.
Three tracks into the new U.S. Girls album, Meghan Remy is awoken by a phone call from a girlfriend. She tells her about the bad dream she just had, in which her father emailed her a digital folder containing nude images of Remy taken when she was a child. But the really weird thing about it was—as Remy notes with a combination of embarrassment and pride—"I was kinda hot stuff.
Half Free is the 4AD debut for Meg Remy's U.S. Girls project, and while the album maintains the accessibility and increased production values of her previous album, 2012's Gem, it also revisits some of the tape loop experimentation and dark subject matter of her older works. The album credits ten people among its performing roster, including Canadian hip-hop producer Onakabazien (who co-produced U.S.
After two albums across which the more conventional listener might search vainly for something resembling a tune, Meg Remy made a turn into pop on a split album with Slim Twig in 2011. Suddenly, she’d transformed into some kind of experimental girl-group revivalist. Two more albums in the same vein later and she’s signed to 4AD for a fifth album that offers, well, more of the same.
Meghan Remy has led a strongly intriguing musical trajectory under her U.S. Girls moniker. Her early forays into looped fuzzed-out noise were an avant-garde expulsion, a performance of catharsis, but decidedly, deliberately skirting genre classification. Remy's voice has grown stronger, her preoccupations with the darker realms of the human condition coming closer to the abyss, and her embrace of more identifiable genre signifiers while restlessly toying with those same conventions has made her both more accessible and inimitably bolder in vision and scope.
Each persona that Meg Remy, the creator and self-styled curator of U.S. Girls, invokes across her newest record is uniquely vulnerable. Whether she’s posing as a war widow, as she does on “Damn ThatValley”, or a young woman whose husband had previously romanced her sisters, as she does on “Sororal Feelings”, Remy makes sure that unlikely strength abounds.
Disclosure and Chvrches might be battling it out for best dance-flavoured comeback of 2015, but theirs aren’t the only records worth your time this week. New 4AD signing US Girls’ album unveils Canadian singer Meghan Remy as a star in the making, while ex-Lostprophets members release their ….
There are so many rhythms, references and emotional narratives happening on Toronto-based American musician Meg Remy’s debut for 4AD, it’s hard to know where to begin. So how about its catchiest pop tune? The beautiful Window Shades reflects on the end of a relationship and asks “What if?” Using an elegant 70s disco-soul sample, she elevates a mundane moment of self-searching into grand theatrical drama. Half Free centres on the lives of women and what it means to be a woman.