The reissue of Crystal Stilts' ep and 7” in one handy package on Woodsist reminds us of two things:
1/Much of the best music today is coming out of Brooklyn (see also: Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Boy Genius, Vivian Girls, Cause Co-Motion).
2/ The Felt revival (1981-3) is upon us. Without the dramatically static poise of Felt’s early triumvirate Something Sends Me To Sleep/My Face Is On Fire/Penelope Tree, Crystal Stilts would not exist. I imagine the band have all written wills (not just because they have a certain morbidity about them…) declaring they want to be buried with those singles.
Crystal Stilts are nervy and sullen, their monochromatic rumbling reaching into the darkness like the Velvet Underground; there’s an intriguing distance to their dysfunctional garage rattling, all muffled beats and darkly drawled vocals, that is compelling precisely because it suggests fragility. You could hear them singing that line from Space Blues, “I’m not adept with my fellow man”, and meaning it.
They wouldn’t sound out of place on Rough Trade (just like The Blue Orchids) or Flying Nun (just like The Clean) in the early 80s, but they wouldn’t sound like they do were it not for Felt.