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Love story 

U.S. Girls and Slim Twig met and fell in love during OBEY 2010, now they’re spreading the love with an OBEY VI fundraiser show.

Slim Twig’s wild and heavy sound will have you floating, too.
  • Slim Twig’s wild and heavy sound will have you floating, too.

Surrealist and experimental art embraces urges to break rules, any rules and all rules. Wait a minute, what rules? Exactly. For OBEY Convention VI, Divorce Records is bringing aural outsiders to Halifax from June 6 to 9, to showcase the beauty of transgressive music.

As prep, the OBEY fundraiser brings back Toronto's dark-art-rocker Slim Twig and electro-party U.S. GIRLS, also debuting psych-sampler JFM's new LP, to The Khyber on Saturday.

Since performing at OBEY in 2010, Slim Twig (AKA Max Turnbull) gave us A Hound at the Hem, a concept album with Toronto experimentalists, including strings by Owen Pallett. Inspired by Nabokov's Lolita (the initials of pervert protagonist, Humbert Humbert, glare from the title), Slim Twig's execution is stunning and draws comparisons to Nick Cave. "Certain patches of my lyrics have approached his darkness," Turnbull says. "But I think my ambition has been a little more adventurous. I'm more interested in esoteric qualities like vibe, production, mystery, and structure---in experimental music in general."

This interest led to founding indie imprint Calico Corp. with his wife, U.S. GIRLS' Meg Remy, after the couple fell in love at OBEY 2010 (for real). Remy, originally from Philadelphia, now lives in Toronto with Turnbull, releasing "the grooviest modern music around," she says.

"I walked into that big brick beauty, the Khyber, and found Max on stage doing his thing," Remy says. "I was mesmerized. The music was so heavy, he was so wild. I felt like I was floating. I knew I loved him from that moment on, sounds cliché but it's true. "

Calico Corp. has released a seven-inch by Eric Copeland, with a coming Sic Alps seven-inch alongside Canadian artists and their own work, too. Both are also represented on well-stocked labels: Slim Twig to Paper Bag, Remy to UK's Fat Cat. They're in love and inventive.

As U.S. GIRLS, Remy's working on a new album with beats by Louis Percival (AKA Onakabazien) following up 2012's GEM. He creates the beats, she re-creates them with vocals. "It's a marriage between R&B, soul worship and arty farty," she says, and it will offer more killer covers like her Springsteen versions and Brandy/Monica's "The Boy is Mine."

Joined by minimalist electronic band Minstrel, the fundraiser is the first vinyl LP release for Sackville, NB's JFM (AKA Jesse Matthews), a 14-track self-titled space-jam on Divorce Records. "No computers to correct the flubs and flaws that naturally happen during the process of making my electronic music," JFM says, who uses a Roland SP-404 sampler. "I am thieving sounds and tinting the atmosphere. Expectations are hard to meet, so just be open."

The show is a preview for the multi-art OBEY Convention and its acts like Mac DeMarco, Pissed Jeans, Grouper and many more.

"I think OBEY exists on the same continuum as Calico Corp.," Turnbull says. "To present something of substance that is a true alternative. OBEY has a vision that is not formed in reaction or opposition to the mainstream, but is its own thing with its own value set and is defined on its own terms. We're excited to be considered in harmony with a concept like that."

U.S. Girls
w/Slim Twig, JFM, Electric Voice DJs, art by James Gauvreau
Saturday, April 20, 10:30pm, $10
The Khyber, 1588 Barrington Street

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