steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Slim Twig

"Vernacular Violence" CD

Paper Bag Records

Genre: experimental pop

Toronto, Canada

Sep 10 2008

One Wednesday night last summer, a friend and I made our way to Toronto's rapidly-gentrifying Parkdale area to see a show put on by Wolfcow, an obscure local personality who splits time between the noise and no-wave scenes. There weren't twenty people in the audience, and invited opener Slim Twig (along with a keyboarding crony) seemed less-than-enthused about the situation. My friend and I, meanwhile, were less-than-enthused by their set, which seemed to embody everything wrong with hipster culture. The glazed looks, the trademark garb, the taken-seriously over-the-topness... So imagine my joy when Slim Twig's Vernacular Violence arrived in the Indieville mailbag - at long last, a chance to exact revenge on a band that just about ruined by Wednesday night a year prior.

Well, I can be vengeful but I can't be dishonest. Vernacular Violence is not the disaster I was secretly hoping it to be. In fact, it's a very strong record's worth of weirdo pop music. "Brothl Hunting" elegantly acquaints us with Slim Twig's formula: crunchy keys and Yamaha preset beats blanketing the Twig's unique ballroom vocals. It might have turned out cacophonous, save for a strange melodic quality that ties it all together. A bossa nova beat carries lounge-abortion "Tormen" which is oddly unsettling, but the disc gets better the further it goes on. Morricone-tinged "Street Proposition" is brilliantly nightmarish, while "White Fantaseee" is a mesmerizing, ten minute epic that marks the best keyboard performance I've heard in awhile and reminds me strangely of early Go-Betweens material. Still, it is the last track, "Gate Hearing!," that is Slim Twig's coup de grace. The brilliant lyrics are delivered with admirable gusto, accompanied by a miraculously infectious keyboard part that forms the record's catchiest moment. So catchy, in fact, that I recognized it from that fateful show a year prior. Same songs, different opinions. Interested parties are encouraged to pick up this very strong EP, but if you happen to run into Slim Twig on the street sometime, be sure to give him a punch in the face for me. I still want my Wednesday night back.

slim twig's myspace


youuuuuuuutube!: gate hearing! video

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 5 tracks, distributed by the label, released Aug 5, 2008]