Purple Pilgrims and Radiant Door by Crystal Stilts review

by Fiona Rae / 28 January, 2012
A release from two sisters comes with a hand-sewn 12-page zine.


While the understated yet quietly assured self-titled eight-inch release PURPLE PILGRIMS (Pseudoarcana, available from www.pseudoarcana.com) is assertively lo-as-fi-can-go, it is a pretty good example of gently and deeply moving elegant dream pop. Now Hong Kong-based, sisters Clementine and Valentine Nixon were pre-earthquake Christchurch residents. With a strong Xerox aesthetic, there is a lovingly handmade craft element to this release, which comes with a hand-sewn 12-page zine. Mastered by Brian Crook (from Christchurch groups the Terminals and the Renderers), the release shimmers with chimerical ebbs and flows. A lovely deep and droning murkiness balances the gauziness. The duo has been invited to play at the South By South West (SXSW) music conference in Austin, Texas, this year.

Brooklyn's Crystal Stilts stunned me with their debut album, Alight of Night, in 2008. I played the record, and in particular single Departure, day in, day out for two years. Their 21-minute EP RADIANT DOOR (Sacred Bones) shares the same reference points: the more accessible stripped-back work of the Velvet Underground and the poppier side of the Jesus and Mary Chain. But more interestingly, their sound is informed by the psychedelic angles of the Clean and the (criminally overlooked) heavier drugged-up material of the Chills. Reverb-drenched and melodic, it has an infectiously joyous quality. A further nod to their musical roots is the cover of Low Profile by Blue Orchids – the terrific group Martin Bramah formed after he left the Fall. Highly recommended.

Latest

The best thing to come from the Black Caps' defeat
108621 2019-07-20 00:00:00Z Sport

The best thing to come from the Black Caps' defeat…

by Paul Thomas

For New Zealanders, the Cricket World Cup final was a brutal reminder of sport’s great paradox. But there's hope on the horizon.

Read more
What New Zealand can do about the militarisation of space
108498 2019-07-20 00:00:00Z Tech

What New Zealand can do about the militarisation o…

by Duncan Steel

We may decry the notion, but the hostile use of space is creeping into the plans of various countries.

Read more
Five technologies from the space race that we take for granted
108506 2019-07-20 00:00:00Z Tech

Five technologies from the space race that we take…

by Peter Griffin

If US$154 billion to land 12 men on the Moon seems excessive, consider the things we use every day that had their roots in a Nasa lab.

Read more
Top investigator urges police to speak up about wrongful convictions
108539 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Crime

Top investigator urges police to speak up about wr…

by Mike White

Mike White talks to investigator Tim McKinnel, who says police often turn a blind eye to possible corruption out of a misplaced sense of loyalty.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern to focus on Australia deportations in talks with Scott Morrison
108570 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern to focus on Australia deportations…

by Craig McCulloch

PM Jacinda Ardern has doubled down on her criticism of Australia's deportation policy as "corrosive", ahead of her meeting with Scott Morrison.

Read more
How closed adoption robbed Māori children of their identity
108572 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Social issues

How closed adoption robbed Māori children of their…

by Te Aniwa Hurihanganui

Te Aniwa Hurihanganui looks at the outdated Adoption Act and its impact on Māori who grew up desperate to reconnect.

Read more
The new robotic surgery aiding vaginal mesh removal
108377 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Health

The new robotic surgery aiding vaginal mesh remova…

by Ruth Nichol

Women with complications caused by deeply embedded vaginal mesh are being helped by a pioneering surgical technique.

Read more
A beautiful mind: What people with Alzheimer's can teach us
108544 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Health

A beautiful mind: What people with Alzheimer's can…

by Fergus Riley

North Auckland farmer Fergus Riley has uncovered many important lessons in caring for his father Peter, who has Alzheimer’s.

Read more