Agitated Atmosphere: U.S. Girls – GEM

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as U.S. Girls.

Meghan Remy’s work as U.S. Girls exists in a time warp; untouched by any fad or notion of genre. Layering appreciation for myriad trends, Remy eschews them.

Such is the case with her latest full-length, GEM. Thick with glam and pop influences, GEM is an ageless wonder. Though Remy (with some help from Slim Twig) anchor much of the album in 50s doo-wop and 60s soul, the gamut of influences present throughout does not allow for throwback nostalgia; and modern interpretation never materializes. Whether GEM is existing in multiple epochs or in a past we never experienced (or a future that may never come), its glitzy take on women-in-pop is its own spectacle.

GEM is versatile through multiple playbacks. One run-through may cause infatuation to skew toward the electronic noir of Remy’s sound. Odd pop rhythms populate the cabaret sing-along “Jack,” or Rocky Horror shuffle “Down in the Boondocks.” Another listen will lead you to finding Remy’s attention focused on Richard Swift garage swagger such as “Don’t Understand That Man” and “Rosemary.” Remy also pays lip service to her playful side on “Curves,” momentarily ditching the grounded premise for a well-placed experimental missive.

Listen to “Jack”

Avoiding clichés and modern pop tart traps, Remy has created a true pop artifact not beholden to any previous iteration of her work or from those she gleeful borrows. Whether GEM stands the test of time is not worth debate, for it exists throughout all time, making this time the right time to take the time to listen.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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