Saturday Afternoon Artist – Crystal Castles

crystal castles from myspace

This week’s artist featured on the show (Saturdays 3-6pm) is Toronto duo Crystal Castles. This group pushes the edge of edgy and once you let them in you’ve got some of the best dance songs on the planet. From their 2008 debut, the song “Crimewave” is undeniable.

Producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass took the group’s name from a TV cartoon character – She-Ra, Princess of Power.The Crystal Castle is a secret refuge where She-Ra lives.

Kath met Alice when she was only 14, and living illegally in an abandoned house. He said, “She lived and breathed Seventies and Eighties punk bands.” The story goes that they were wooed by big labels shortly after Alice posted some of their first rough tracks on their MySpace page. Alice says. “We wanted to do something like [those bands] without copying [them], so instead of distorted guitars we’d use fucked-up keyboard sounds. But at the same time, I love New Order and Joy Division, and wanted to use those kinds of dance beats. That’s what we set out to do: AIDS Wolf get into a fight with New Order.”

Crystal Castles II, their long-awaited second album has just come out, it was recorded in obscure places like a cabin in Ontario, a garage in Detroit and even an Icelandic church. Some of it (like all their music) is intentionally abrasive. But when they lean toward pop melody they have stellar dance hits like the brand new “Celestica”:

What’s most striking about Crystal Castles is their live show. A brave mix of lights and fuzzy punky beats, with Alice stretching her voice to the limit. The band is touring right now with the new album, but sadly have no dates in Seattle. So I just started a Facebook group called “Bring Crystal Castles To Seattle 2010“. Here’s a glimpse of them live!

Please join!

Michele Myers is the producer of KEXP Documentaries, and hosts on KEXP 90.3FM Saturdays 3-6pm and on WNYE in NYC 91.5FM Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6-9am.

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