breast pump When she returned from the hospital with the twins, she was waiting for Meg Remy at her home in Toronto. But to feed her two newborns, she charged it up and flipped a switch. doggie.
“As soon as I heard it, I wondered what that shit was,” says 37-year-old Remy. The bandleader and creative force behind the ever-inventing, ever-evolving, ever-searching pop outfit US Girls. “We knew we were going to do something with this.”
Lemmy recorded Pump’s idiosyncratic pulse and sampled it for “Pump,” the final song on US Girls’ new album. Breath This Mess, on sale February 24 via 4AD. (Video of this unique session can be found on his Instagram). It was her last song she made for the album, otherwise completed during her pregnancy in 2020 and 2021. The song’s verses begin “as a straight-up reportage of my experiences in the hospital” after she gave birth, and she recounts a conversation: with a night nurse. The late Vamp distills her thoughts that ran through her head as she spent hours immersed in her infatuation with the pump. “Body, birth, death, machine,” she repeats, unlocking the mysteries of human connection.
“Expressing multiple times a day is really the only time for me,” says Remy. “I sat down and said, ‘What am I doing now? Who made this machine? What did we do when we didn’t have these? Why do machines seem to need to teach us how to do what we know?”
These questions have many answers, and like the “pump” riddle, the “answer” has more riddles than the question itself. but, Breath This MessRemy is less drawn to solutions than to grand agnosticism or eternal mysteries.
Started US Girls As a lo-fi, avant-garde underground project that debuted in 2008 while Remy was living in Philadelphia.His 15 years since, with widely acclaimed releases like 2018’s with unlimited poetry and the 2020s heavy light, she came to specialize in the artistic alchemy of rock, pop, funk and soul, folding the familiar past into a brilliant future in grooves that are as danceable as the lyrics tear apart. She is an accomplished storyteller, a keen but empathetic observer of modern weaknesses, and an interrogator of all sides of the current hellscape.
An early taste of ‘So Typical Now’ Breath This Mess Released last summer is the vintage US Girls. somethingBut Remy doesn’t leave the hook either. Who hasn’t forked a nugget of soul for poor returns? “I have to do my best to buy more,” she sings. “See you in heaven someday.”
“So Typical Now” is also typical of the funk-forward sound. Breath This Messwhich is far from the “playing US Girls blues” guitar album Lemmy thought he would later make heavy lightInstead, as quarantine began, Remy found herself drawn to MIDI instruments and their myriad possibilities. (“What the hell were we doing? We wasted our time buying half-broken old vintage synthesizers,” she jokes. “You can get one simulation But?”) spins out everything from surreal AM gold (“RIP Roy G Biv”) to glittery disco (“Tux”).
At the same time, Lemmy kept thinking about James Brown, perusing old performance footage, especially from the Bootsy Collins era, to capture the sincerity she saw.
“If I look at James Brown, he’s Mr. Entertainment, Mr. Dynamite, but he’s also completely gone. Totally free and doing what he wants,” Lemmy said. To tell. “It’s a state I really crave and want to reach more in my daily life. To turn off the inner story about myself and take life seriously. A way of life that’s as contagious as funk.” That’s the gift of it — it teaches you how to do it.
She was stuck at home, but Remy didn’t make it Breath This Mess 1 person. The album was piecemeal made with various collaborators and emails. This is a process necessitated by the pandemic, but welcomed after recording. heavy light studio live.
“I did it in a week. I did it and never have to do it again,” Remy says. to go to the exact opposite place.”
upon heavy lightRemy began to unearth her past with renewed intensity, and in her 2021 memoir, she continued the process even more daring and vulnerable. start by tellingIt’s a brief, brilliant, and brutal book, with feminist theory and cultural criticism swirling toward and from the harrowing revelation that her father sexually abused her as a child. increase.
bless this chaos, Remy says it’s a “full response” to both of these projects. “They were so raw, they didn’t hide,” she says. “I think both of them have gone a little further than I would have liked. I continue to use my life experiences in my musical narration, but I have had to keep them under wraps a little more.” For example, while the skin is still healing, are you going to immediately peel off another layer of skin?”
That’s not to say the album isn’t yet visceral, intimate, and explicit. Remy describes his own art-making process as an exercise in overcoming fear. Breath This Mess She faced “many physical horrors” as she herself changed dramatically. Still, she was determined to finish the album during her pregnancy, and she remembers thinking, “This is going to be a very strange artifact of a very specific era.” “And I was interested in documenting her own voice as it changed in the process.”
Singing was a special challenge. Her diaphragm is the muscle used to breathe, and “this passage I used to know how to make sounds was completely transformed,” she says. “And my voice changed with it, and so did my confidence.”
Still, at 34 weeks — “It’s like being 50 weeks pregnant with one baby!” — she was in the studio chasing the vocals on Starry Sky’s “St.” James Way”
“I’m sitting in a chair, in the dark, barely reachable [my voice] It’s a whisper, so it sounds very strange,” she recalls. “It’s very fuzzy, almost tense. I literally couldn’t take a deep breath. Not being able to take a deep breath and collect the air makes the phrasing staccato.”
Amid these changes, Remy found guidance in ancient mythology. “I needed a story as grand as the one I went through,” she says, “If you ask me, you have three hearts in her body and three times as much blood.” This is epic shit!”
Pointing to a book by Joseph Campbell and Stanley Kelemen myth and bodyshe stated that the purpose of mythology is to “give us stories about having a body”, adding, “What comes out of a body? Everything. Without a body there is no experience.”
But these stories also addressed other concerns. The album opener, “Only Daedalus,” was inspired by an imprisoned craftsman in ancient Crete, but not the famous story of his son Icarus getting too close to the sun. Rather, the song finds Remy grappling with the idea of ego and creation, hoping to be as smart and bold as Daedalus as he ties the shell to the ant and threads the shell.
“We are all Daedalus in life,” Remy says. “It’s good to ask for help – therapy, advice from others. But really, I think we know deep down the answers to the questions we’re asking. Basically, be creative.” If you can think it, be fearless, take a risk, tie a string to an ant and see what happens.”
Then the title track, “Bless This Mess,” nods to the punishment given to Danaides for killing her husband. A perfect encapsulation of everyday toil.
“That’s life,” Remy says. “You go to sleep, you wake up, and you’re like, ‘Fuck. I still have this leaky jar!’
Bruce Springsteen — long a major US Girls influence — once said that Woody Guthrie’s songs took him beyond the anguish of Hank Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.” He explained how he had helped them and encouraged them to ask:why Are there holes in my bucket? ’ Lemmy has used his music to explore the same questions.but the best moment Breath This Mess Find her looking at leaky jars, buckets with holes, and more transcendental things.
On the album’s brilliant centerpiece, “Futures Bet,” Lemmy rides the bright beams of a MIDI synth programmed to sound like an arena rock guitar, embracing and cherishing life’s endless chaos and eternal mystery. But at the same time, the pain of despair lingers in the refrain.
Remy recently admitted that it was impossible to escape despair. “Financially and psychologically. It’s unreal.”
Talking about it openly and often, with anyone and everyone, is one way she deals with it. Reveal your nature Duality is a wonderful thing The point is not to get rid of the feeling of hopelessness or to banish it so that you never feel it again.It is to have another sense of balance that balances it. .”
What else can I do? Bless you.
“Bless this chaos” is not a phrase you might associate with the pioneering musicians of Art Pop. It’s for kitschy suburban decor—mass-produced Needlepoint, not a 4AD record. She never got used to it, but the exercise encouraged her to find a broader, more universal, less intimidating language than her typical US Girls lyrics. Words that, as she explains, resonate with her mother.
“I thought it was a useful phrase. Right now, that acceptance thing seems totally relevant. I’m not going to clean this up. It’s free, it can’t be fixed, the best we can do is celebrate it, let’s just take it straight, see it, name it, feel it, I’m very happy with it I think it can be read as serious and as not.”
Remy moves fastThis interview took place last November, well after Remy had graduated. bless this mess, and two months before the album came out. “Being with my kids is great for stimulating my whole brain,” she says. I always feel like I’m thinking creatively and critically, which only helps me make art.”
She’s been working on more US Girls music, some of which she hopes to release this year. This book is fiction about twins. “We look back at what twins represent in the world, why we’re fascinated by them, and what they’ve always meant,” she explains. meant that the mother had been tricked: “Oh, you had sex with two people, and I’m going to kill you right now.” I’m about to “
Still, Lemmy believes there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead, whether it’s his long-term viability as a professional artist or immediate concerns about stopping touring. Breath This MessShe just announced that she will be playing eight shows with her new five-piece band in April. But between dire financial prospects, time away from family, and the environmental toll of all travel, it’s hard to see what’s worth beyond that.
In these moments, Remy tries to return to the simple and sincere. Music is sacred.
“This is not the music’s fault,” she tells herself. “The music is the best part of this piece. It’s everything that surrounds it that’s a distraction or sucks the energy out of it. I still have my voice, I can sing.” It goes nowhere.”