Slim Twig is a very close friend of U.S. Girls; he even runs Calico Corp with U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy. And it’s through his own label and Toronto’s Pleasence Records that he’s released A Hound at the Hem, a fascinating whirligig of an album that includes collaborations with fellow Torontonian Owen Pallett. The melodies are straightforward and Gainsbourg-esque but suddenly and thrillingly give way to creepier stuff — foreboding brass blasts or counter-melodic piano — which is fitting for an album that pays tribute to Nabokov’s Lolita and Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson.
The video below is for “All This Wanting,” the first single from Hem. It was shot in Montreal by Emily Pelstring (who has also made videos for U.S. Girls, AIDS Wolf, and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan) and her puppeteering friends using a vintage camera to, as Pelstring put it, “give it an ’80s Sesame Street-gone-wrong vibe.” And it shows: the video begins cheesily enough, with goofy lighting and silly looking puppets. But as the song progresses, the sunniest of pop songs turns very, very dark. It’s a playful take on pop, one of the strongest from the Toronto psych scene.
A Hound at the Hem is available now through Calico Corp/Pleasence.