Slim Twig is a man, not a band. In the last 2 years (spent reclusively recording), the distinction has had to be made, as the once solo performer has more readily incorporated collaboration, most obviously by employing a crack accompanying band.
This development should come as little surprise; Slim Twig has torn through enough ideas and styles to finance a fistful of bands since releasing his first EPs in 2008. These earlier explorations include the prescient flirtation with an avant-rockabilly sensibility on Vernacular Violence (2008), and his full-length debut, Contempt! (2009), a re-appropriation of off-kilter sampling techniques gleaned from the RZA and Madlib, and presented in a decidedly un-Hip Hop-like format. The latter record stands out as one of the most strangely singular records released on a major Canadian indie label, and as an unsung pre-cursor to the solo, sample-based, oddball pop that by 2012, has become commonplace.
Since those early recordings, Slim Twig has largely retreated to his studio life. He surfaced briefly to release A Sheik In Scores (2010), his cassette-only follow-up to Contempt!, and to perform in and score the soundtrack to a feature film entitled Sight Unseen, a collaboration with his filmmaker-parents. Late 2011 marked a brief re-emergence; a string of shows with his new band debuting in support of like-minded oddballs, Timber Timbre, preceded the release of a split record with U.S. Girls on FatCat subsidiary, Palmist Records. This release set the stage for the artist's latest role, that of producer.
Although an emphasis on intricate and meticulous production has been a hallmark of Slim's recorded output, collaborating with an outside artist allowed him to truly expand upon and embrace his enthusiasm for producing. His work for U.S. Girls debuted with the Palmist split and fully blossomed with their collaboration on 2011's critically acclaimed, U.S. Girls on Kraak. 2012 further establishes their partnership as FatCat prepares the release of U.S. Girls latest record, an unabashed foray into pop & glam produced and mixed by Slim Twig.
2012 also sees the release of a wealth of new Slim Twig material. Appropriately for an artist as diversely prolific as Slim, the coming months will see two full-length album releases, as well as a 12”-split on Clan Destine Records with blog-favourite pals, Dirty Beaches, Ela Orleans, and U.S. Girls.
A new release on Paper Bag Records will be his first since 2009. Sof' Sike can be seen as a dramatic left (er, make that a right) turn follow-up to Contempt!, his last release on PBR. Replacing analog drum machines and scratched-record samples are the vaguely psychedelic rumblings of live instrumentation: pianos, organs, guitar, bass, drums! Out of the murky and demented inspiration of his previous releases we can now hear the sound of a promising young songwriter. Although as idiosyncratic as ever, these new songs showcase an interest in classic songwriting, a fondness for psych-era Rolling Stones, an affinity with the queer power pop of R. Stevie Moore- in short, an odd friendliness (of sorts). Sof' Sike is a diverse collection of songs, and with its restless approach to genre and uncontained enthusiasm for POP, can be viewed in the lineage of records like The Who's Sell Out, or Spark's A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing.
Not one to be pigeon-holed, look to the later half of the year for the release of A Hound At The Hem, a narrative album collaboration with Slim Twig’s band, consisting of Toronto session heavyweights, Carl Didur, Louis Percival & Tim Westberg, and with Owen Pallett. Taking its cue from Gainsbourg's Histoire De Melody Nelson not only in its daring fusion of orchestral tones with rockist textures, but also in its derivation and manipulation of Nabokov's Lolita chronicle, A Hound At The Hem represents the 'hard psych' flipside to Sof' Sike and that LP's lighter touch. A Hound At The Hem will see a vinyl-only co-release on Pleasence Records and Slim's own label, Calico Corp. (co-run by Meg Remy of U.S. Girls).
With Slim Twig releases on Paper Bag Records, Pleasence, Calico Corp. and Clan Destine Records, the release of U.S. Girls new LP on FatCat, as well as releases by international acts, Eric Copeland & Sic Alps on Twig's own Calico Corp. imprint, 2012 promises to coax Slim out of his reclusiveness.
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