Despite the departure of singer Alice Glass a few years ago, hip Canadian electropunks Crystal Castles are still going strong, with new singer Edith Frances making her debut on last year’s fourth album Amnesty (I), a gripping, trippy exploration into more electronic and aggressive territory. The group were one of the absolute highlights of this year’s Bonnaroo, and their unbelievable turn on the farm had us wondering when Crystal Castles might finally make their return to Music City, last performing here in 2012. Fortunately, the wait won’t be long, as the duo finally make their way back to Nashville tonight, Oct. 4, for a performance at Cannery Ballroom with Farrows. It’s shaping up to be yet another exciting fall, and this is sure to be a highlight, so be sure to grab tickets right here while you can, and read all about this highly-anticipated show below!
Initially a one-off collaboration between songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Ethan Kath and vocalist/songwriter Alice Glass, who Kath met and asked to record vocals for music he’d been working on for several years, Toronto’s Crystal Castles were met with immediate buzz after releasing their first demo “Alice Practice,” prompting them to formally come together as a group and release their debut, limited vinyl EP of the same name. After a string of buzzy vinyl releases, Crystal Castles dropped their eponymous first full-length in 2008, and, with its brash and experimental fusion of electropunk, synthpop, noise music, 8-bit, and electronic, it quickly became heralded as one of the best albums of the decade, and certainly one of the strongest debut LPs of the ’00s. Riding a wave of critical acclaim to ubiquitous success and becoming a fixture in the festival and touring circuit, Crystal Castles’ followup, 2010’s II, took a more polished and clear direction, widening their broad appeal and producing the band’s biggest single to date, Robert Smith collaboration “Not in Love.” By 2012’s III, the duo had largely abandoned their chip-tunes elements for more contemporary witch house sounds, employing more organic instruments and thematic throughway.
Known for their wild and frenetic presence, the band haven continued to gain a reputation for being a gargantuan live force, even as the hipster heyday of the late-’00s indie scene has waned (proving their legitimate artistic staying power, as many peers have all but faded away). Unfortunately, Glass opted to leave the group for personal and professional reasons in late 2014, which, as essential the face of the band, would’ve been a death blow to most duos, but Kath, who’s always been Crystal Castles’ apparent creative core, managed to salvage the project by recruiting new singer Edith Frances in early 2015. Filling another singer’s shoes in a nearly impossible task, and it’s unfair to hold a new artist to the baggage of someone they’ve replaced, but, so far, Frances has seemed more than up to the task of stepping in, assimilating into a familiar style without sacrificing some of her own personality on last year’s Amnesty (I), which despite not taking a creative leap forward, feels like a logical entry into the group’s catalogue. More importantly, though, Frances has ensured that the band’s live show still rips hard as ever- as we recently witnessed firsthand at Bonnaroo– so have no fear, longtime fans and newcomers alike; while they may not be quite the same band, they’re every bit as intense and satisfying.
Like Crystal Castles, Farrows exist in a space between DJ/producer and band, helmed by John Herguth (and with Kevin Campbell billed as part of the lineup as well). With a background in punk, Farrows showcases Herguth’s dance/electronic sensibilities, fused with dreamy, more atmospheric post-punk and shoegaze, a bit more reserved and conventional than Crystal Castles’ typically more abrasive and glitchy aesthetic. With a debut EP on track for 2018, there’s not much out about the project so far, but they’ve been getting positive reviews opening on this run, and the single below definitely has our interest piqued!
Crystal Castles and Farrows will perform tonight, Oct. 4 at Cannery Ballroom. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $25.