Spotlight: Crystal Castles, Toronto’s supremely anti-social techno-punk duo
Alice Glass and Ethan Kath are grade A shit disturbers. As Crystal Castles, the two former Torontonians (they currently live on the road) make uncompromising punk-electronica music that riles fans to the point of near riot. During an early-career appearance at a record store in London, England, the overflow audience started breaking shelves and overturning garbage cans. In the five years since, there have been fist fights with audience members, drum kits thrown into the crowd and a post-show party in L.A. that got so rowdy the police had to bring in helicopters to disperse the revellers. Glass has an attitude every bit as bratty as her got-into-Mommy’s-eyeliner look. (In those fist fights, she’s usually the one who throws the first punch.) That’s a lot of commotion for a band named after the theme song from the Saturday morning cartoon She-Ra. Crystal Castles makes music that sounds like a pinball machine having a seizure, but there’s a surprising tunefulness lurking beneath all those layers of glitchy gloom. Glass’s voice can switch effortlessly between angry and celestial, while Kath, a former metal-head, combines overloaded circuitry with ice-cool techno beats for something that is sublime one moment, unsettling the next. The pair hits Toronto this month for a long-overdue hometown show to promote (III), their third full-length album. Even the most restrained Crystal Castles concert has the feel of a communal exorcism, with Glass flinging herself around the stage like a possessed tween. The folks at Kool Haus may want to hire some extra security.