The Outsiders: Vol. 16

Not all of Stereogum’s favorite sounds conform to what folks expect us to cover. In this space, resident Bananafish fetishist Brandon Stosuy focuses on bands, albums, singles, and villages in Sweden that may otherwise pass by unnoticed. This installment’s virtual milk crate contains Crystal Stilts, Factums, and Babe, Terror.

A couple weeks ago I was listening to and really enjoying the Crystal Stilts’ self-titled Woodsist EP. It reminded me of some of the lo-fi, somewhat fuzzy, ultimately infectious music Chemical Imbalance would’ve championed, Slumberland would’ve put out, and I would’ve tracked down via Ajax back in the day. Lovely, melancholic under-the-weather Ian Curtis-on-Spector-and-American soil garage, or something.

Ironic then that when I did a Google search to see what I could find out about the band I happened upon a rave review at Pitchfork via old Chemical Imbalance (and current YETI) editor, Mike McGonigal, someone who always, to me at least, seemed more interested in sound than his own critical ego.

[Crystal Cake Shop photo by Jonny Leather]

It’s great MM’s found a venue like Pitchfork to spread the word to the kids. Today he gives another 8.3 to another worthy band Eat Skull. I don’t really pay attention to much music criticism in general (my head would explode), but I do pay attention to specific people who I think have great taste. Fun, then, to have an interest seconded by someone who I think gets it, and for the right reasons.

Crystal Stilts – “Crippled Croon” (MP3)

That’s an older recording — October 2005 — from the Woodsist EP. You can hear more at their MySpace. They have a full-length of new material forthcoming — yes — on Slumberland.


Another band that makes me think of those old Chemical Imbalance issues — and, in this case, Siltbreeze in its heyday — is the Chicago/Seattle trio Factums. You can listen to more of them at their MySpace. Turns out they previously have material on Siltbreeze, so there’s that theory confirmed … the kind of discovery I find exciting — stumbling upon shit and piecing it together yourself, not via PR or a concentrated push or hype pull. I know, very romantic.

Lastly, here’s a new track from one-man São Paulo, Brazil haunted vocalist Claudio, aka Babe, Terror, a project I almost didn’t include in the Outsiders because after digging it, I saw it blogged about by Sasha Frere-Jones. But hey, sounds are sounds. He supposedly has an EP out 9/5, and lists the Beach Boys and Ariel Pinks, etc., as influences.

Babe, Terror – “Nasa Goodbye” (MP3)

Claudio kindly passed along the MP3 for this new track, too.

Babe, Terror – “Mount Dorothy” (MP3)

You can hear more at his MySpace. AIDS Wolf, No Age, and Bodies Of Water are in his Top 12. Maybe that math makes some sense, especially if you consider Dean and Randy’s more ambient stretches. And then do some creative multiplication and subtraction.

[Potential cover for the Babe, Terror EP]

A good pairing for some of this installment’s sounds is Pumice, who I featured a few weeks ago.