Happiness is hard to come by in the world of Crystal Stilts — heavy on Joy Division, not much joy, plenty of White Light, White Heat and a total dearth of sunlight. And yet, there’s something extremely comforting about the NYC mope-mavens, as they inform you that the Velvet Underground, Flying Nun and Lee Hazelwood records that got passed down from your cool uncle to your older sister to yourself (and onto your teenage cousin) can and should be required listening for anyone who considers themselves a fan of indie rock. Now 10 years into their career, Crystal Stilts have about five decades’ worth of ironclad credibility giving them reason to stay the course on their third LP Nature Noire. There are certain, incremental tuneups that sound colossal within Crystal Stilts’ fully-formed aesthetic: Real-deal strings illuminate “Memory Room” and “Future Folklore” integrates blue-collar classic rock of the ’60s into their ’70s-based, all-black art-rock. But the quintet aren’t going to fundamentally alter what got them here in the first place — rhythmic interplay that never advances beyond “perpetually hungover” and Brad Hargett’s baritone drawl going for “Most Dour Man in Brooklyn,” something like The National’s Matt Berninger for the non-showered, non-blue-blazered. Is it starting to get a little stifling this far in? Certainly, but that’s kind of the whole point of Nature Noire — there are all kinds of advances being made in society and music, but those are someone else’s concerns here. And that’s comforting.
By Wondering Sound Staff on 04.10.12 in Lists
Since 2008, we've used our eMusic Selects program to spotlight our favorite unsigned bands, releasing their albums exclusively to eMusic members and giving you a first look at bands whose music and vision inspires us. We...
By J. Edward Keyes on 02.22.12 in Jukebox Juries
In our experiment, Frankie Rose went undercover to talk to real-life space travelers about their experiences beyond the stars, and to ask them about the similarities between her album and the cosmos that inspired it. But...
By Matthew Fritch on 02.21.12 in Reviews
Frankie Rose spent the early part of her musical career as a member of a ragtag coven of Brooklyn retro-garage bands, including Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls. Interstellar, her second solo album since mo...
By Wondering Sound Staff on 12.26.11 in Lists
It was a year full of surprising breakouts and breathtaking discoveries, with reliable favorites from familiar faces and strong entries from new voices. These are our Top 100 Records of 2011.