This is the feature in which we attempt to follow the Drone Subterranean Wall of Sound and Whispered Vocals.
Carmen Villain, aka Carmen Hillestad, is a Norwegian former supermodel whose 2013 release Sleeper has slowly been gaining international attention. I guess I should be more in the know, but I first heard about her late last week on PRI’s The World in an interesting–and apparently recurring–segment by their Norwegian music correspondent Marius Asp. Though the NPR outro described her music as “trippy and glamorous shoegaze,” I really don’t find much in the way of what most would consider glamour in her music. There does seem to be some fascination on the internet about the apparent contradiction between the glamour of being a fashion model and the leftfield discordant angst that defines Carmen Villain’s music. I don’t necessarily see a discrepancy, though. It is commonly accepted that behind the gorgeous imagery produced in magazine and promo shoots lies a dank and ugly universe of misogyny, eating disorders, substance abuse, and self-hatred. The haunted dissonance of Villain’s recordings conjures a world where all of these contradictions come together in sound.
Detuned, jarring, and lush at the same time, Villain has produced an album worthy of the industry from which she came. Her style is heavily influenced by multiple elements of the early 90s “alternative” movement from My Bloody Valentine to Sonic Youth, but definitely with a moan more reminiscent of Kim Gordon than Bilinda Butcher. This shit is loud and abstract: Check out her single Easy above.
Rumors have been swirling for a while now about a Slowdive reunion, only to be stoked further by the creation of a so-far-inactive Twitter account. We’re following it. Stay tuned.