New band of the day – No 982: Grimes

This Canadian artist's outer-limits pop is ethereal and electronic but always accessible – even at its most atonal

Hometown: Montreal.

The lineup: Claire Boucher (vocals, music).

The background: We were going to write about someone called Destroyer today until a reader kindly (actually, sternly) pointed out that the musician, an alias for Dan Bejar, has been going for yonks, even if he – the reader, not Bejar – is probably the only person in the UK to have heard of him. Shame, though, because according to Pitchfork his new album, Kaputt, totally supports our otherwise half-baked theory that, as per Jensen Sportag and the new Toro Y Moi album, there are concerted efforts afoot among young players to make smooth, almost jazzily dexterous and super-polished playing cool for the first time, like, ever – said Pitchfork review contains references to Sade's Diamond Life, Roxy Music's Avalon and Steely Dan's Gaucho. Say no more.

So we hastily scrabbled around for something sensational with which to replace Destroyer – because, contrary to what some people believe, every attempt is made on a daily basis up here to find a new band that will stun and amaze – and what do you know: at the 11th hour (the 13th, to be precise, if you use the 24-hour clock), we were told about this Canadian musician and visual artist who self-released a record last year that "people who like Nite Jewel and Sleep Over will fall head over heels in love with", who uses "luscious vocals, chopped and warped beats, and a general mood of beautiful disorder and disarray", and who is issuing a new EP's worth of material in April.

OK, so let's check: did we like Nite Jewel when we covered her for New Band of the Day in 2009? Yup, we sure did. And Sleep Over? Hmm, not sure about that one.

Boucher aka Grimes does indeed make music worthy of inclusion alongside the wondrous Nite Jewel and Sleep Over in that it is mysterious and allusive, ethereal and electronic, sometimes harsh and textured and tough, but always supremely accessible even at its most atonal. The songs on her 2010 Geidi Primes album often cram four, maybe five, ideas into one track, but her ghostly vocals add a pop patina just as things get jagged. Venus in Fleurs is like Julee Cruise on Mogadon, Dragvandil is Diamanda Galas goes dubstep, and Swan Song recalls Cranes, and you should recall Cranes at least once a year because they were startling and sublime, as is Grimes.

This is outer-limits pop that answers the question, can you be simultaneously eerie and cute? It is music made by someone not allergic to ideas, in a tiny bedroom inhabited by a true artist with an imagination of considerable size and scope. And we haven't even heard the new EP yet – a split-EP with fellow experimental Canuck D'Eon – because the PR didn't manage to send us the SoundCloud link in time, but no matter because the titles – Orphia, Vanessa, Crystal Ball, Urban Twilight, Hedra – put the "icing" into enticing, and the "oh!" into disorder and disarray.

The buzz: "Late-night driving songs, hangover antidotes, exotic lullabies ... They are atmospherically intoxicating and often quite catchy" –

The truth: If the new EP is half as good as the first LP and twice as good as Nite Jewel, then – well, you do the maths.

Most likely to: Bloom darkly.

Least likely to: Commit murder.

What to buy: The Darkbloom split-EP with D'Eon is released on 12 April by Hippos in Tanks and Arbitus Records.

File next to: Nite Jewel, Sleep Over, Cranes, AlunaGeorge.


Thursday's new band: Admiral Fallow.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
New band of the day – No 1,149: Citizens!
Produced by Alex Kapranos, this promising lot operate a hair's breadth from Franz Ferdinand's funkily acerbic style

Paul Lester

15, Nov, 2011 @5:29 PM

Article image
New band of the day – Purity Ring (No 1,244)
Let us dream of fractured skulls and holes drilled in eyelids. Welcome to the world of a band setting the blogosphere ablaze

Paul Lester

05, Apr, 2012 @2:40 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 977: AlunaGeorge
This London duo use R&B tropes and techniques to create pop music bright enough to light up the charts

Paul Lester

02, Mar, 2011 @4:45 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 803: Civil Civic
This duo's brainiac mix of math rock, prog and electronica is never less than clever, intricate and complex

Paul Lester

08, Jun, 2010 @3:15 PM

Article image
New band of the day – Gross Magic (No 1,045)
Sam McGarrigle feeds his favourite 80s tunes through an Ariel Pink filter to create an ultra-vivid dream of perfect pop

Paul Lester

16, Jun, 2011 @4:23 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 1,041: Light Asylum
Shannon Funchess, a cyborg soul girl in the manner of Grace Jones, presides over this forbidding gothtronica

Paul Lester

10, Jun, 2011 @4:47 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 941: Beat Connection
This Seattle band sound positively jaunty. We know nothing jaunty has ever been good, but somehow this is

Paul Lester

07, Jan, 2011 @5:18 PM

Article image
New band of the day: Jungle (No 1,536)

Unknowns create mesmeric urban-tribal music with potentially viral video

Paul Lester

19, Jun, 2013 @2:21 PM

Article image
New band of the day: September 2010 playlist

Enjoy reading Paul Lester's daily new band tips? Then why not listen to the musicians he's raving about

Paul Lester

30, Sep, 2010 @1:44 PM

Article image
New band of the day: Lulu James (No 1,461)

She's the new diva of electronic soul. Warning: comes with a studio partner called Domzilla

Paul Lester

27, Feb, 2013 @4:57 PM