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Crystal Stilts - EP

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Album Review

It took a few years for the world to catch up with Brooklyn indie gloomsters Crystal Stilts. By the time their initial single and 12" EP were reissued in the form of this self-titled disc in 2008, they were still at the forefront of a new wave of reverb-abusing bedroom recording artists, despite the fact that these songs were three or four years old at the time. The six songs that make up Crystal Stilts were recorded in full by singer Brad Hargett and guitarist JB Townsend, two ex-residents of Florida who moved up to Brooklyn and released the songs in small batches on their own Feathery Tongue label. The band has always existed as a well-curated pastiche of classic noise pop influences, and their earliest recordings are no exception. From the cavernous beginning notes of "Crippled Croon," Hargett's wobbly baritone brings to mind Joy Division's Ian Curtis or the most poorly recorded Orange Juice tracks, while the song's jangly percussion and rays of feedback-laden melodies recall early Jesus and Mary Chain or the muted pop perfection of Black Tambourine. Realizing that songs like "Converging in the Quiet" were put to tape in 2004 and 2005, it's also possible to detect the subtle influence of more modern indie goth purveyors like Interpol and the Rapture, who were both enjoying peaks in recognition around that time. The set's most interesting material comes in "Shattered Shine" and "Lights" from their debut 7", the former of which was re-recorded for their 2008 Slumberland debut Alight of Night. Though all the songs showcase the band in its most elemental beginning form, these songs capture the inspiration and excitement of the project at its rawest point of inception, and their drippy psychedelic leanings expose a time when the group was as influenced by early Pink Floyd as by the minimal thump of the Velvet Underground.


Formed: 2003 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in New York in 2003 by Brad Hargett and JB Townsend, multi-influenced indie rock band Crystal Stilts released their first work -- some singles and an EP -- in 2004 on the Feathery Tongue label. The first single, "Shattered Shine," was followed by a series of local shows and then a five-song EP on Woodsist in 2008. Later that same year, their debut full-length album, Alight of Night, was released by Slumberland. While the records were made by the duo, they were joined by Kyle Forester on keyboards,...
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Crystal Stilts - EP, Crystal Stilts
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