The flags American astronauts planted on the Moon are still standing, and they are probably white, which means they're like a Jasper Johns.
I saw the first Moon landing live on television, on a 12" black and white portable when I was five years old. I was allowed to stay up late to watch it because my older brother and his friend were babysitting: they fell asleep, I stayed up for it. I was crazy for space travel, and a bad sleeper.
This week I've been listening to the Purity Ring album Shrines c/- of a good friend who bought the vinyl and gifted me the free digital download that came with it: big ups. This is what friends are for. My listening habits are becoming increasingly Canadian. Megan James has one of Those Voices, and Corin Roddick is working in the sweet spot of melody and hip-hop that gave us Portishead, The Sneaker Pimps and Stateless before them. Like the Sneaker Pimps circa Becoming X, this is Purity Ring's moment.
Here's the band talking to GQ:
The intersection between that type of music [Soulja Boy], and what you guys are doing is fascinating. And it's different in how intimate it seems. Is it true that Megan draws most of the songwriting from a bunch of diaries she's kept since childhood?Shrines has a beautiful, treated sound: it's a delicate, modern, electronic product. Under the Radar popped the big question to Megan James and received the quintessentially Canadian answer:
James: Yeah, often I'll play the piano and just write songs straight from the diaries. But I never intended for what's happened to happen. Corin had asked me if I wanted to sing over what he was making. It wasn't that weird to do it. I'll write something down and a lot of the time whatever I've written down happens to fit perfectly over his melodies.
GQ: Is it weird to relive this old personal stuff?
Megan James: No, but I haven't really used anything that is that old. It's kind of the same thing as performing a song that's no longer new. I'm still emotional about it somewhat. I mean, I'm writing a journal and I never expected people to be singing those words, to be on stage and have people singing my journal entries back to me.
How does the Purity Ring sound translate live?Read the full interview here.
We've found a few ways to translate it well. Corin's built a bunch of lanterns that surround him and he hits them with sticks and they light up and also trigger the melody which is really nice.
Something about this kind of band always grabs me. As I wrote about the Sneaker Pimps in 2003:
The Sneaker Pimps' 'Low Five', from the Splinter LP has great songs but it still fails to grab me like Becoming X, the only album to feature singer / songwriter Kelli Dayton. In the usual sad and confusing chain of events that befalls only albums you love and never the ones you can do without, the Muse Lounge's copy of Becoming X disappeared-- not the original available in Marbecks, as I discovered to my cost, but the limited edition featuring Nellee Hooper's phat version of '6 Underground' (from The Saint), Line of Flight's whirly girl version of 'Spin Spin Sugar', and more.
In 1998 after the success of Becoming X Dayton was asked to leave the Sneaker Pimps, an expression of frustration, perhaps, from the male founders of a band that went on to be defined by its female vocals. I saw her perform a duet with Marc Almond on Later with Jools Holland and she wasn't so great; more recently she teamed up with Bootsy Collins for a single that wasn't so great either. But in the Sneaker Pimps she was more than perfect: she and the band worked in the same key or something, and became a sum greater than their parts. I guess they'll never get back together but the fantasy is tantalising: their dysfunction made them the trip-hop Fleetwood Mac.
Dayton now records under the name Kelli Ali and has a new LP called Tigermouth which doesn't seem to be out yet. She recorded with Marilyn Manson ("We had a great time but when we got the track back it was like 'oh!'") and practises kung fu.