Slim Twig: Artist You Should Know

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Slim Twig is literally an art brat.

Born Max Trumbull, Twig’s parents are filmmakers and quite obviously made him feel comfortable acting, performing and trying on different masks from a seemingly early age.

Still in his early 20s, he’s been in films with Ellen Page, done some film scoring and aside from releasing his own work as Slim Twig, has done production on albums by U.S. Girls and (Toronto band) Tropics.

His self-released 2012 album “A Hound at the Hem” was highly regarded by the few who came across it back then, so that the good folks at DFA have given it a re-release now.

Thankfully now one of 2012s best unheard albums can become one of 2014s best albums people will listen to in 2015.

Inspired by “Lolita” and “L’Histoire De Melody Nelson” the album is a dizzying headtrip of dreadful desire, like a 60s stag film shot in a funhouse.

It’s less dirty old man leering and seething with desire to do bad things to a little girl, and more of a noisy, drunken chase around the kitchen table trying to tear a skirt off while knocking every goddamn pot and pan to the floor in the process.

Slim Twig brilliantly enlisted boy genius Owen Pallett to arrange the strings on “A Hound at the Hem”, which gives the album a remarkably swooning and totally dreadful shrill that’s in no small part what makes this album such a rush.

The liner notes shout out Jean-Claude Vannier and Michael Nyman, so you know it’s real.

To call it clever, pretentious stuff would be a dig, if it weren’t true.

Slim Twig made a big, baroque pop album that is equal parts Scott Walker, Buzzcocks, Richard Hell, David Bowie and The The. 

One gets the impression he clearly couldn’t care less about what pop sounds like right now, which is actually the best compliment I can imagine giving.

The only current artist I can relate the tone to would be possibly King Krule. But, this isn’t that.

I mean, if you took the stony jazz and hip-hop and Billy Bragg vibes and replaced it with maddening psychedelics and French film scores and post-punk sneering…you might end up with something roughly resembling “A Hound at the Hem”. But not really.

It’s a rare thing to be able to say there’s nothing else quite like it.

I can’t really think of anything. And if there is, it’s definitely not as much crazy, sleazy fun as this version.