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Crystal Stilts

Crystal Stilts are currently in the middle of an extensive, full USA tour - their first of the whole country that has found them playing many weird, isolated locations around the massive North American continent. "This is the first time we've actually done a full US tour," says Hargett. "We've done, east coast / west coast / and to Texas and back [from New York] for South By Southwest, but we've never done the full US tour." The tour, which lasts an entire month, will see Crystal Stilts clocking up some 3,000 miles on the road. "A whole lot of driving!" says Hargett.

 

The band have seemingly been having an amazing time on the road, getting to visit places they've never been before. "I had never been to New Orleans, so today was great," enthuses Hargett. "I'd never been to Vancouver (obviously the band are incorporating some Canadian dates into the tour schedule too) and I'd never been to Minneapolis either."

 

Surprisingly the band have managed to squeeze in some days of into the tight schedule, and it's enquired of Hargett what Crystal Stilts got up to with their day off in New Orleans. "We did the typical stuff," he replies. "We went and got a coffee and a pastry." The band were also very keen to sample the local cuisine. "We went to this place called Coop's Place and got a rabbit and sausage jambalaya."

 

Crystal Stilts have just released their second full-length record In Love With Oblivion, the follow-up to 2008's Alight Of Night, that was also released though Slumberland Records. Hargett says the response has been very positive. "I don't think I've really read a bad review," he muses happily.

 

While the responses have been overwhelmingly positive and many reviewers seem to 'get' the record, others seem to be a little lost as to what the band's intentions are, talking about things Hargett doesn't see in the record at all. "For the most part it's been totally positive - you couldn't ask for anything more."

 

So what were the band's intentions with In Love With Oblivion, an album that sees them further expanding their spaced-out, psychedelic pop sound? "There wasn't like a set attitude," explains Hargett, "I think it's a natural thing - all of us love records and love music so I think it's natural to try and bring out different influences.

 

"I think it's a more diverse, more dynamic record [than Alight of Night]. There wasn't any strategy or anything; I think it's a natural thing that happened over a few years time."

 

While the psychedelic nature of Crystal Stilts seems to stand out to many listeners - particularly with Hargett's soaked-with-reverb vocals - Hargett doesn't agree that they really set out to be "psychedelic," but it's more a sound that just occurs with the way they produce their records.

 

"I think it's an influence, I don't think it's a main influence. When you say 'psychedelic', well there's [a diverse range of psychedelia] like 'psych rock', and 'acid rock'. I think musically our influences are '50s r'n'b, blues, concentrating on rock and roll… and I think the psychedelic feel is just how it's recorded. The way we have the record sound makes us get labelled 'psychedelic' but it's more of a psychedelic atmosphere."

 

While this is the band's first full USA tour, the band have actually toured Europe more extensively, 2009 seeing them over there three times. "We've really done a lot of Europe. We did the UK again just last month, and we're going back in June."

 

It seems compared to the 'States, shows in Europe are consistently better for Crystal Stilts. "The 'States is so big and spread out. We have great, really good shows in New York, DC, Texas and California, but there are places in the 'States - like if you're playing somewhere like Bloomington, Indiana - where not that many people that come out. They don't know about us.

 

"Shockingly we can play in Switzerland and people turn out for it," he says. "I think it might be because it's a more-exotic affair - they turn out for a US band. It's been surprising to be able to play crazy places in Europe and have people come out."

 

One of the immediate goals of the band is to try and make it to Australia as soon as possible after the USA tour wraps up. "Hopefully this fall," says Hargett. "That's something we've been wanting to do for a while, so hopefully we get over there soon."

 

CRYSTAL STILTS' excellent new album In Love With Oblivion is out now through Popfrenzy Records.