Toronto-based performer Slim Twig (aka musician/actor Max Turnbull) and his touring band treated concertgoers at Chicago’s Empty Bottle to hearty helpings of heavy psych and hard glam on a recent Thursday night. The small but enthusiastic crowd gathered near the stage to consume sounds sexy, strange and oh so rock n roll.
Since 2008, Slim Twig has released the EPs Vernacular Violence and Derelict Dialect, the LPs Contempt!, Sof’ Sike and A Hound at the Hem (reissued late last year by DFA) and several splits and limited edition cassette releases.
A Hound at the Hem, which features string arrangements by fellow Canadian Owen Pallet, offers up eight tracks of avant-garde baroque pop that recall (and often directly reference) the work of Scott Walker, Serge Gainsbourg and David Bowie. The album opens with the nervous, glitchy “Heavy Splendour,” segues into the Ian Curtis-channeling “Clerical Collar,” hits a midway highpoint with “Shroud by the Sheetful,” revs up for some glam/goth (“Maintain the Charade”) and closes with the lysergic “Blonde Ascending (Come Into the Clatter).”
A cover of Bowie’s “Black Country Rock” was one of the set highlights at the Empty Bottle (Twig and his band (which included keyboardist Meghan Remy (aka support act U.S. Girls)) roughed up the Thin White Duke’s version considerably), in so much as individual songs and structure took a backseat to Hawkwind-esque experimentation and Stooges-style raw power.
Written By August Forte