the glass castle

Crystal Castles - Amnesty (I) (2016)

Following the leave of Alice Glass, Crystal Castles have moved away quite a bit from their atmospheric electronic, Amnesty (I) presenting a more straight forward, industrial duo of Ethan Kath and Edith Frances. It’s not farfetched to say that CC have stripped away the atmospherics to have a harder hitting and more divisive sound, ‘Fleece’ taking massive cues from Pretty Hate Machine-era NIN synths; the intensity from previous CC records is still there, it’s just more direct and even subtly EDM now - for better or worse. That being said, this is still very clearly CC, whether it’s the insane, 'Doe Deer’-esque intro to 'Fleece’, or the airy 'Chloroform’; it’s just that there’s now trap percussion on 'Femen’ and the electronics are very 80s without coming across dated. Frances has stepped up to the challenge of a crowd of people mindlessly stating “Alice is half of CC”, filling the position with ease all the while making it her own, 'Sadist’ going as far as showing Glass and Frances’ different approaches - the former reacting with a wail where as the latter juxtaposes with delicateness. For CC, this won’t be looked at as better or worse, but as a turning point, and hopefully a positive one at that.

Bill Waters

Crystal Castles End An Era With Amnesty

All the while, Alice Glass was there — on the fringe, sure, but still there — at enormous festivals around the world, scaling speakers, hitting fans with her microphone, sweaty and screaming. A sweet-voiced young singer just here to lend a voice, she was not. As frontwoman of Crystal Castles, Glass was ultimately an emblem for not just female agency in electronic music but also female weirdness, a punk-rock energy that surfaced above mainstream dance music’s increasingly saccharine and expensive landscape. And even if Edith Frances can replicate Glass’s moves, she’s mimicking a presence that Glass built for the band. In doing so, Frances and Kath are, intentionally or not, reaffirming ideas about how invisible and replaceable women in electronic music can be.

I went into review the new Crystal Castles album and also ended up writing kind of a eulogy for Alice Glass’s presence in the band and thoughts on the bro EDM culture CC has kind of become a part of. 

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It’s Freedom to Read week! Did you know that these books were once banned?

The Crank Trilogy by Ellen Hopkins

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tweak by Nick Sheff

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. By Judy Blume

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Learn more.

Dad had lost his job at the gypsum, and when Christmas came that year, we had no money at all. On Christmas Eve, Dad took each one of us kids out into the desert night one by one.
“Pick out your favorite star”, Dad said.
“I like that one!” I said.
Dad grinned, “that’s Venus”, he said. He explained to me that planets glowed because reflected light was constant and stars twinkled because their light pulsed.
“I like it anyway” I said.
“What the hell,” Dad said. “It’s Christmas. You can have a planet if you want.”
And he gave me Venus.
—  Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle